Sexual harassment has become a focus of conversation amongst some couples in our therapy office. The recent scandals involving Matt Lauer, Al Franken, Roy Moore, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and more have left many women and men sickened, disheartened and angry at these men’s abuse of power.
Women find themselves either increasingly emboldened by the “Me Too” movement or traumatized by the repetitive news headlines. Men who have never violated women feel shocked and uncomfortable with the sheer number of reports of men sexually harassing women.
What’s a couple to do with all of this information? With headline overload? With different gender experiences of what it means to feel safe and secure in one’s body and sexuality?
I recently addressed some of this in my video HERE.
In addition, I’ve included a list of questions below that can help you discuss these difficult topics together. These questions are designed to help you tune into your partner’s experience, help you understand the impact of the latest news reports and offer an entry point into an otherwise difficult topic/conversation.
Whether you are in a same sex or opposite sex relationship, set aside time to check in with each other using the following questions as your guide. Choose which questions mirror your gender orientation and couple/parental status.
Couple’s Guide to Talking about Sexual Harassment in the Media
- What is/was it like to see the “Me Too” movement gain momentum in my social media feeds?
- What is/was it like to learn, for the first time, that females I know posted “Me Too”?
- As a man, what is it like for me to see public male figures being accused of sexual abuse and/or harassment on an almost daily basis? How do I feel about their responses?
- As a woman, what is like to bear witness to the public female figures coming forward to address their abusers?
- As a man, how do I feel about the women coming forward and pressing charges?
- Have you ever experienced sexual abuse and/or harassment in your life?
- As a man, am I willing to join the IWillSpeakUp movement? Why or why not?
- As a woman who may or may not have been violated personally, how does this impact my view of men?
- As a couple, how does this impact our relationship? What do we find ourselves thinking about?
- How do we handle being around family whose opinions on this news may differ from ours?
- How do we talk to our kids about the news (if children are age appropriate and aware of the headlines)?
- As parents, how do we help mold the sexual development of our sons to include respect for women, others?
- As parents, how do we help mold the sexual development of our daughters to navigate potential sexual abuse, as a child AND as an adult?
These questions help you deepen a necessary conversation. While the headlines may not specifically tie into your own personal history, they are difficult to ignore.
One of the greatest injuries to women is to not see them, hear them or acknowledge them. The “Me Too” movement continues to show up in all of our faces, whether we want it to or not. We cannot turn our backs on these women, on any woman, anymore.
Opening up dialogue with the one you love demonstrates courage, curiosity and acknowledgment of what women, as a whole, experience throughout their lives.
Thank you Time Magazine. You got it right.