Years ago a young man I knew asked me how he should treat his prom date. I told him to think about how he would want his sister to be treated. I meant protect.
This admonition came back to haunt me as I learned about many, many people who did not protect family members and strangers in situations of sexual vulnerability.
I asked myself what advice do you give?
Protect is a powerful word. It means if you are the older person, the person in authority, the soberer person, the bystander, it is your job to treat the child, the older person, the person who is not able to consent, or the person who is in your power as off limits sexually. It is your job to keep that person safe, no exceptions.
If you are the kind of person prone to sexual aggression, all this may seem toothless. But I don’t believe it is. I believe that you (whoever you are) really need to assume there is an interventionist God. One who makes no excuses for rape.
I am grateful women are willing to come forward on social media and identify as sexual assault or harassment survivors. The effort is better than silence but not enough.
Not enough because we need to talk about prevention and recovery and limiting or stopping the offenders
Not enough because it still marginalizes male survivors. No one is immune from sexual assault and harassment. Victims of sexual aggression can be young or old and can be male, female, straight, same-sex oriented, bi, trans. Sexual predation can happen to anyone.
If we define #me too only along narrow gender lines, we leave half the victims without a voice. We need to figure out a way to protect all of us from sexual predation.
#me too needs to be a voice for all survivors of sexual predation. All victims deserve to be heard.
We need to make sure #me too makes room for #we too.
 Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it.
For a year I have called people like Archimedes or my own dear children badass because they are but also because of Tara Badamo whose voice was always husky and calm when she talked to me, who told stories with vivid pieces, who was still young and pretty when she died who once called herself and the father of her children badasses to signify that the children in question had come by it honestly.
Honestly I miss her. Want to take words like stones and shore up the well of grief. Grief for her might-have-been.
But I won’t write letters to the dead. Why should I? They can hear us clearly from there, thank you very much, where they sit at the table in God’s kitchen
Once I went on a city-girl camp out. The forest, like the one in the fairytale, was deep-green lovely. Alive even. We packed without regard for the physics of making fire, which meant green wood, cold hot dogs, no true s’mores, and the ultimate kindness of strangers.
We had pitched our tent in the light, but in the Appalachian night all the trees looked the same. At that point I was the one who believed the most in an Interventionist God, which meant quite a bit of out-loud-supplication and some amusement from my agnostic companions.
Funny sense of humor-God. He did not seem fazed by their scepticism when He was the one who found us out tent again in the moonless night, but they were the ones who did not sleep, one afraid of bears, the other-human intruders.
I, myself, am afraid of both
But slept like a baby because I knew they would stay wide awake.
Old story now, this interventionist God-someone to watch over us.