Author: By Te-Erika Patterson
Due to the emergence of the #MeToo Movement and the #TimesUp Movement, women now understand that we have a presence that must be seen and heard. We can’t stop now. In addition to holding sexually abusive men accountable for their actions, we must also hold ourselves accountable for taking every measure we can to prevent using these hashtags in the future.
Women are not perpetual victims. We are leaders who will take this opportunity while the spotlight is upon us to set the bar for all future interactions with men and shape this society into what we want it to be. We cannot always stop perversion in its tracks, but, there are certain measures we can take to reduce the probability of men viewing us as powerless or easy to manipulate.
We Must Speak Up When We Are Uncomfortable
It was once considered acceptable for women to shrug off sexually suggestive comments from men in the workplace because it was considered ‘boys play’. Guess what? Women are no longer playing the boys game so all women must learn to speak up when a man makes a statement or suggestion that makes them feel uncomfortable.
There is no reason to lambaste or degrade a man who makes an off collar remark. We must correct the behavior of men with love because underneath their wily ways, we love them and they love us. After centuries of unbridled freedom, men may not recognize when they are crossing the line into offensive territory and it is our duty to educate them.
We Must Learn to Say NO to Men and Be Definite
Society has inferred that being a lady means accepting what is offered to us politely. In this new era women must learn to say NO and be definite when we say it. It is not a man’s place to pressure a woman in any way. If a woman feels pressured by a man her instinctual reaction should be NO, even if she was on the fence about his request.
A man who pressures a woman for any reason is in need of gentle correction. He needs to understand that a woman who chooses to honor his requests should be more appealing than a woman he has to coerce. Say NO if you are a woman and you feel pressured by a man at any time.
We Must Take Charge of Our Financial Fate
There are countless examples of women who have experienced sexual abuse by men in positions of power over their careers. It is heartbreaking that women have had to make the choice between speaking up about sexual abuse in the workplace and earning a living for their families. We can help decrease incidents of sexual abuse and sexual harassment in the workplace by taking charge of our financial fate. No woman should feel the pressure of losing all of her income at the whim of another human being. Women must learn to create multiple streams of income that includes entrepreneurial pursuits.
In any way you can, create a stream of income that relies solely on your own effort. Grow that stream of income until it matches the income you earn through your employment and you will be able to stand in your power. You will never have to bite your tongue in silence as a perverted man indecently propositions you when you know you have other options for income to support yourself. Create multiple streams of income for yourself and secure your confidence and personal power in the presence of abusive and manipulative men.
We Must Set Firm Standards for Our Interactions with Men
Some women were taught that it is a woman’s place to follow a man’s lead. Following a man’s lead is perfectly acceptable if the man who is leading is capable of leading us to somewhere we actually want to go. Most smart women have agendas of their own and their own vision for their lives. That vision should include standards for interacting with men.
How do you want to feel when you interact with a man? How do you want him to address you? What kind of conversations are acceptable and which are unacceptable? What should he add to your life, if anything? Decide for yourself which type of interactions are pleasing to you and inform the men in your workplace of your standards when the occasion arises. Hold them accountable for offering you the type of interaction that you have requested. Correct any behavior that you have not approved in a loving way. Men will need time to adjust to your standards but they will adjust and they will respect you more for it.
Women must teach men how we want to be treated and hold them accountable for rising to our new standards. The New Rules for Engaging Women at Work are company policies for sexual harassment and workplace harmony that all businesses should adopt. These guidelines will ease workplace tension by teaching men how to be supporters of women instead of predators of women. Men will feel less fear in the presence of the women they believe now have an advantage, women will enjoy a safer work environment and businesses will experience a boost in productivity that will be unprecedented.
Women are not powerless. Men are not evil. We need to create a common ground by educating men on how women want to be engaged in the workplace and holding them accountable for honoring this new standard.
Te-Erika Patterson is the creator of The New Rules for Engaging Women at Work, company policies for sexual harassment and workplace harmony. Learn more about her advocacy for women at Te-Erika.Com.