"THEIR TIME IS UP"
Everyone is talking about Oprah's speech at the Golden Globes last night. If you haven't heard about it yet, basically, Oprah Winfrey made an amazingly powerful speech about racial injustice and sexual abuse and harassment at the Golden Globes, as she accepted the Cecil B DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award.
To be honest there were so many highlights to this speech it's really hard to pick just one, but I have to say that when she talked about Recy Taylor, a black woman from the US who on September 3, 1944 was kidnapped and gang-raped by six men whilst walking back from church, you could hear a pin drop in the room and I personally was fighting back my tears listening about this woman's heartbreaking story.
“Recy Taylor died 10 days ago,” Winfrey said. “She lived too many years in a culture broken by brutally powerful men. For too long, women have not been heard or believed.” "But their time is up" she said and everyone in the room clapped.
You see, for Recy, like for many other women who have experienced rape and sexual abuse, justice was never met. Despite the men confessing to authorities, two grand juries subsequently declined to indict the men and no charges were ever brought against her assailants.
I am so glad that her story got told, I know it's not much, but at least it's something.
Every woman in the room was dressed in black to honor the #metoo and #timesup movements while she spoke of "women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia, engineering, medicine, and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. They’re our athletes in the Olympics and they’re our soldiers in the military.”
I love her for acknowledging EVERYONE, not just Hollywood, not just the women who have come forward but also those who's stories we may never hear. It was truly an empowering moment, another step in the right direction, one that perhaps will get us even closer to a day where we can all feel safe, respected and equal no matter what.
You could tell that there wasn't a single woman in the room who did not have a story to tell. You could see in their eyes that they were thinking about their own mothers, sisters and daughters, and you could tell that they all felt every single word that she said.
I know I did.
This morning I read that some people were upset that she did not include in her speech and the fact that men are also victims of sexual abuse. Some people feel that the whole #metoo movement has been an attack on all men, when the truth is it has not, not even one bit.
The movement has always been about the "brutally powerful men". And yes, THEIR time is up!
Now, I can go on and on about why I think she didn't include it in her speech, or how statistics show that women are far more sexually abused than men are, or how talking about such a taboo topic will eventually help everyone, even if the focus at the moment is about women. But the truth is, and this brings me to what I loved the most about her magnificent words, is that I actually think Oprah DID include men in her speech in the most relevant, poignant and accurate way anyone could have possibly done.
You see, from her words I got that it is only TOGETHER with the outstanding men who not only celebrate women, but more importantly celebrate equality and refuse to put up with people in power using their position harmfully, that we will be able to end this mentality and culture of abuse and harassment. You see sexual abuse and harassment are not just a women's issue even if they do effect women more than men - they are everyone's issue and the sooner we all realize it, the better this world will be for our children and next generations.
“So I want all the girls watching here, now, to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “me too” again.”
And I say - amen to that!
Video via NBC on Youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/nbc