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Victoria Steele Responds to #MeToo with #NowWhat

 

TUCSON, Ariz., Nov. 29, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- For weeks we have watched as millions of people have spoken out clearly with a loud and resounding #MeToo in response to sexual harassment.  As a woman who joined the movement with my own stories, it is empowering to see this suffocating veil of secrecy finally be lifted.  Women and men should not fear going to work. 

As a survivor and a former mental health counselor who helped many others heal from this and more forms of abuse, I want to first say that this is the initial phase of our healing process.  It's like the scab has been ripped off a sore that has long covered a festering wound.  It's ugly and it's painful.  But it's necessary. 

If you have your own #MeToo story, please be gentle with yourself.  Do not feel that you have to share more than you are ready to share.  It angers me that victims need to go public with their painful and often humiliating stories before change happens. I honor those who can and are speaking out and I respect you if you decide not to be public with your stories. 

Many of us, women and men, victims of sexual harassment or not, are feeling a sense of betrayal and deep disappointment as we see colleagues, friends, and people whom we have held in high esteem, topple from grace.  Please resist the urge to say they were pushed.  Do not blame the victims.  Many of those who are falling are doing so by cause of their own bad actions. 

Life is complicated and we as a society must now come to grips with what has always been kept silenced.  Now, together, we will better define what is acceptable behavior in the workplace.  Leaders must develop policies that keep people safe at work, allow victims to report without fear of retaliation, and help bystanders understand how to intervene when they see something that just doesn't seem right. 

It is secrecy that has allowed this wound to continue to fester and now that it's open to the light of day, it is time to heal. 

Victoria Steele is a professional speaker and coach on Women in Leadership and a State Senate candidate in Arizona.  She is a former professional counselor who specialized in sexual trauma, broadcast journalist and state legislator.  Victoria is available for interviews, speaking and training at 520-401-0935 and www.Victoria-Steele.com

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