Another Teachable Moment

When I was around thirteen I took a trip to The City with a group of people. I think it was a church youth group, but I can’t remember the specifics. I do remember it was a cold day. We were moving through the city streets, and when we arrived at Rockefeller Center, the crowd grew thick. I remember looking up at the tree. I remember hearing the sounds of the city, and smelling the roasting chestnuts and pretzels. I remember people pressing in all around me.

And I remember a hand, reaching between my legs from behind and grabbing me. I was so shocked by the experience that when I realized what had happened and turned around, they had disappeared into the crowd. I remember the feeling that I had. Fear. Nausea. Panic. Shame. I could feel the hand on me all day. I can still feel it now.

(So many women I know have a story like this.)

This was not the only time something like this happened. I rather enjoyed slamming around in mosh pits when I was an older teenager. For the most part the music lovers I engaged with were respectful. Of course there were accidental familiarities, but they were almost always followed by an “Oops, I’m sorry”, and a “No problem”. They were simple hazards of the dance,  like an elbow to the nose.

There was a time that I ended up dancing with the wrong people and the familiarities were obviously not accidental at all. What started as an energy releasing whirl around the dance floor turned into a groping session. Sadly, I had to give up the mosh pit. Leave it to the boys. From then on I never danced in the company of strangers.

(So many women I know have a story like this.)

The difference between the accidents and the groping… Objectification. The idea that a woman, or any person at all, is an object to be used for your own pleasure with no regard for their humanity is deplorable. Condoning that sort of behavior, endorsing a person who advocates that behavior is unacceptable.

Objectification starts at home. Whenever we are not basing a person’s value on their humanity we are subtly feeding into this type of behavior. Every single time.

If we are constantly judging people by their outward appearance, we are sending a message to our kids that other people are there to please us. They are objects for us to judge, and deem pleasing or not. If we find ourselves standing in front of the mirror and complaining about our weight, our wrinkles, our looks, we are sending messages to our kids that we are objects to be judged by others.

We feed into a culture of objectification in so many little ways. Superficial judgment. Idle gossip. The catty chatter of girls. Trash talking.  Locker room banter. Boys will be boys.

It is objectification, plain and simple, and objectification tries to rob a person of their humanity, to justify it’s own existence. I have been objectified many times in my life. Sexually abused by my grandfather. Raped when I was ten. Slut shamed by ‘friends’. Groped in crowds. It is a horrible experience to be reduced to an object. It is dehumanizing.

(So many people I know have stories like these.)

I don’t ever want to dehumanize another person. I don’t want my kids to associate with people who objectify other human beings. I certainly do not want them to learn that a man who objectifies other human beings is fit to run our country.

This is a wonderful opportunity for us to sit down with our children and teach them what respect and dignity really mean.

(Tell them your stories.)


These aren’t my only stories. I have dozens more.


My earworm. The grabbing hands, grab all they can.

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