There is something to be said about believing.
Belief gives us hope.
It has taken me a while to come to this realization, but it dawned on me recently.
Do you believe in Santa Claus? Do your children?
When I was growing up I knew that no fat white dude was sliding down my chimney to bring me gifts. A. I didn’t know any white people. B. I didn’t have a chimney. C. There were burglar bars on my window, so he couldn’t come in that way. And let’s be real, my mother ruined it when she told us that she works hard to buy our gifts, so…
My kids believe in Santa. Not because I pushed Santa on them, but in our culture it just goes that way, right? They hear about Santa at school or on the playground and BOOM! Santa is coming. With gifts to put under the tree and reindeer to feed. It’s wondrous to me how the slightest mention of Santa will bring the children to attention. Their eyes light up with such joy at the thought that this magical man could be bringing them every. single. thing. that they circled in the Target toy catalog.
Momma’s got some work to do to make their dreams come true this year, lemme tell you.
Do you believe in God? I do. And no judgement if you don’t, but look- millions of people around the world believe in this Man that they’ve never seen, heard from, or touched. That He will bring us peace, joy, and so much more. We believe. We believe that he can heal, save us, forgive us.
I wonder, then, why it is so difficult for us to believe that a woman could have been raped, molested, or assaulted today, yesterday, last week, 9 or 30 years ago. That she has just built up the courage to say out loud “this man violated me” and we raise eyebrows and say, “Okay, whatever. Liar.”
Here is a woman bearing something so intimate, yet we don’t believe. Women who can’t even go get a massage or act in a movie or sit in a studio with a predator without him thinking he has the right to touch her, and yet we don’t believe.
Does it matter when it happened? Does it matter what circumstances it happened under?
I always think, what if she was your mother? Daughter? Grandmother? Aunt? Friend…
Would you believe?
And let’s be clear, it shouldn’t take it being someone in your family or fold for you to believe.
What blows my mind even more is that the person who mustered up the courage to come forth and say what happened to her has so much to lose as well, so much public scrutiny, embarrassment, shame, yet she stepped forth anyway, and we shoot her down. We take the side of men that we don’t even know, although we think we do. He acted in that movie, he produced that song, he was in that TV show for years. He would never.
But he would. He could.
These are men in positions of power who feel like they have free reign on a woman’s body. These are men who have no regard for women who catcall and touch us as we walk by.
But we believe them.
The question for me is never how long it took a woman to come forward because hell, it took me over 20 years to say those words out loud.
Do you believe me?
Am I a liar?
Belief is a funny thing. We can believe in things that we can’t see, hear, or touch. But when something or someone is brought to our attention that can be seen and heard, we ignore it. We shun the people who have come forth.
What will it take for you to believe? When a woman is found dead? Beat up?
And then we say “why didn’t she say something?” or “she should have left.”
Well, she would if she could have. But who would believe her?
We should all listen more. Take more time to believe more. Maybe if we did and men knew that she would be believed they wouldn’t do it in the first place.
Have her back. Stand up for her. Believe her.