Sunday, August 2, 2020

Round Table: Verbal Abuse Towards Women.

What does it mean when male public figures publicly verbally assault female colleagues, as in the recent incident where Representative Yoho accosted AOC and later called her a “fucking bitch” to the press?

Has this happened to you? Does the way you were raised influence how you respond? What is your gut reaction to men who verbally abuse women? Here is a WashPo article for some context.

I’m 53. For many years I thought it was a fact of life. I recall learning and contemplating I could expect different. I lost a job once for reporting a coworker. 

What she experienced is actually SEXUAL HARASSMENT. 

This has absolutely happened to me; however, not publicly. I was raised in a church which taught "turn the other cheek" but I do not ascribe to that in my adult life. I find AOC admirable for not allowing ugly behavior to change who she is and for speaking truth to power. My gut reaction to men who verbally abuse women is disgust. 

Barbara Robertson: 

There were a couple of occasions that I briefly experienced a couple of expletives directed at me when I refused to talk to or dance with a man. Laughing it off dismissively was what I was taught to do in order to deal with the behavior. As a result, I felt powerful, and in control. I'm grateful that even though I spent most of my work experience in male dominated spaces, encounters have been largely respectful. I love how AOC handled the Yoho situation! Her speech should be required study for everyone! I love how the other ladies of Congress supported her! That makes even a more powerful statement . Unfortunately, this incident only solidified my belief that misogyny, like racism, still permeates within the structural framework of American society. The fight to make sure all human beings are respected continues. 

I’ve been thinking about how verbal abuse affects me even when directed at another woman, especially one in the public eye. When someone like AOC is subjected to abuse, it’s a message to all women to stay in line. This is why her response was so important. One of the things I love about her is her ability to take whatever is thrown at her and turn it around to her (and our) advantage. As an adoptee who grew up trying to please everyone around me, I have had to unlearn the habit of trying to myself small and pleasing so others will like me.

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