Finding Light in the Darkness

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By Kristy Trautmann

These feel like dark times for many – less daylight, more cold weather, and much fear and sadness in the wake of violence and tragedy. In the coming weeks many faith traditions will celebrate light and hope, and we wish you peace and comfort throughout the holidays.

But everyone who has lit a flame in the darkness knows that fire both brings light and amplifies shadows. We can in turn be mesmerized by dancing candlelight and be startled by the oversized, sometimes menacing shadows cast by its brightness.  Our collective work to prevent violence and to promote safe and healthy relationships requires us to both hold out hope for change and grapple with the shadows of fear and pain.

Last month, we released a report on what men in southwest PA think about the #MeToo movement. The results illustrated enormous increases in awareness of the issues and strong support for taking action to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault.  But the results also highlighted some fear or trepidation that #MeToo might go too far.

In this month’s Required Reading, Men Are Worried, but EEOC Panel Finds Little Evidence to Support #MeToo Backlash Fears, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)  Chairwoman Victoria Lipnic said that the belief that #MeToo has gone “too far” suggests fear of rush to judgment, but the EEOC found no evidence that a push against sexual harassment in the workforce hurts men in general, nor has it resulted in a wave of false accusations causing people to lose their jobs or haphazard investigations. Many companies responded to the #MeToo movement in force, investing in additional training and internal investigations into their policies. Unintended negative consequences of #MeToo movement are more likely to come at the expense of women in the workplace, who may be left out of advancement opportunities, such as socializing with bosses or mentors.

We will continue to celebrate the progress of the movement to end domestic and sexual violence, and to keep the shadows of fear and pain in proper perspective.  We are grateful for your partnership and dedication to this work.

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