"Here's the thing: we can't save ourselves from fear by seeking safety, because safety always means there's something to be safe from -- in other words, something to fear. The way out of fear isn't safety. It's freedom." ~ Martha Beck
The many women (and men) who have come out recently and told their stories about past sexual abuse, harassment and even rape in the workplace waited to so long to speak truth because they were afraid.
They were afraid they wouldn't get the part, the job or the promotion if they reported the sexual harassment.
They were afraid they'd be called a liar for speaking out against someone "more powerful" than them.
They were terrified of jeopardizing their reputation because the man in power exerted it over them and so they remained silent out of fear.
If the way out of fear isn't safety but freedom, how do you get free?
You can't control what men in power will do to keep their power. You can't control the fact that the patriarchy has a gross underbelly. And you can't control the past.
So what can you control?
You can cultivate the belief that you will overcome, rise above and go beyond whatever life throws at you.
You can surround yourself with people who cheerlead your powerful, bold, badass self.
You can empower yourself by taking care of yourself above all so that you feel strong and well.
You can practice speaking your truth (even if it doesn't always come out right).
You can act in your integrity and know that you are capable of handling the consequences.
And to collectively change the system so that the workplace is a healthier, safer, happier space for women:
- Vote for women.
- Promote women.
- Give raises to women.
- Mentor women.
- Run for office.
Finally, if you're in a position at work where you feel unsafe. Get out. Now. You will find another way to make money. Trust in that. Follow what feels like freedom. Then take the proper steps to report the situation and hopefully save other women from it happening again.