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This hashtag message is showing up everywhere as the Harvey Weinstein scandal continues to unfold.  Women (and some men) are stepping forward and talking about our experiencies of harassment in all of its forms, by men.  The stories need to be told and we need to be heard.  Fortunately, we are no longer waiting for permission or approval.  We are baring our souls to release the secrets that we have been carrying for years. 

Harassment comes in many forms and as women, we are subjected to high levels of abuse way more than is reported and probably more than we think.  We have been dumbed down for years and pushed into the background by men who think they are superior.  I am grateful that I have been championed by many men throughout my career; men who valued my opinion, empowered me to reach beyond my comfort zone and supported me as I tapped into my courageous self.  I was and am respected.

My family system was my first exposure to marginalization. While the women in my family were strong and independent, my mother elevated the boys.  My mother never held me back from my dreams yet expectations along the way were different.  The boys were given cars when they turned 17, not me.  They came home whatever time they wanted, not me.  Their opinions were asked for and heard, not mine.  As I got older the inequities were more evident and I navigated through as best as I could with much discomfort.  Those experiences molded me to handle some of the challenges that came my way as a business owner.

As I have matured, when a man tries to bully me or my employees when doing business, I pick up the phone and interrupt the behavior.  I see how salary negotiations are different for women and some of my clients try to undercut women with compensation.  As soon as I sniff that nonsense, I stop it immediately. 

My blog is only conveying the surface of my #MeToo experiences.  Women still have to fight harder than men in business and it’s just not fair we have to keep digging into our reserves to break down doors and get our fair share.  Being a lesbian in a business world monopolized by men has caused me great pain.  But I am a warrior and though there are days that the fight makes me weary, I won’t tolerate bull shit from a disrespectful person regardless of sex & gender identity.  No matter our gender identity, we must all work on elevating ourselves to high moral standards that support and encourage others.  We must all name and interrupt abuse and oppression in all of its ugly forms in order to become a more healthy and equitable culture.

I have a great deal of faith that as all these scandals are coming to the surface, we are breaking glass ceilings.  We all want the glass to come crashing down and we were almost there in the 2016 election, but we have more work to do.  And we won’t stop.  Men who are abusing power, we are finding you and we are exposing you.  So, let this serve as a warning, knock it off!