This is a long one, but try to stick with it, I have a point. I promise.
Question: Why do women allow themselves to be mistreated by men?
Why do we allow men to mistreat us?
Before I am reamed for “blaming” women for less than honorable words or actions from men, hear me out.
I had a spectacularly humiliating experience last week.
After a work holiday party, I ran into a man I had seen around the office but never actually spoken to. We exchanged names and friendly conversation as we attempted to navigate the maze of a parking garage while weaving amidst the lined up cars trying to leave as well.
Okay. I will be open here and admit that, while I was in no way drunk, I had a couple of glasses of wine that night. With that being said, I was less cautious than I would have ordinarily been.
After about thirty minutes of searching for my car, because the elevator was broken and the door to the stair case was locked, the man from work suggested he find his car and take me to mine. I agreed. (I kid you not, this parking garage was a maze and constructed poorly…)
Now, I realize that on a scale from, say, one to stupid, this was pretty damn naive. But it was this, or wander around a parking garage. alone. at night. in Dallas…
He left to find his car while I lingered awkwardly between levels. What he meant, and what I didn’t realize at the time, was “I’m going to run to my car, take off my wedding band and stash my kids car seat in the trunk.”
I am twenty-two. Whether or not a man is wearing a wedding band may be the first thing I notice. And I am just being honest here.
Once he “found” his car, he came back to me a little frantic searching for his tie tack that had gone missing. As he began digging in his backseat, I thought it was odd but didn’t really question it much. That is until he opened his truck and I noticed the pink end of a car seat sticking out. As he struggled with shutting the trunk back, I made the not-so-subtle but oh-so-sarcastic comment that car-seats tend to fit better in the backseat. With an awkward smile he managed to slam the trunk shut and continue searching for his tie tack.
After several more minutes of this, he gave up and decided to take me back to find my car. By this point I was feeling awkward, and unsure of what the smartest decision was. I kept wondering, what is the best way to tell him, “I’m okay, really, I’ll hike around in 4 inch heels, alone, searching for my car. I got this, you go on home to your family.” And actually have him believe me. So, as it was, I didn’t make that choice.
He drove me down the parking garage and we were still unable to find my car. He finally asked what I thought of him, and I told him I wouldn’t answer the question because there was a wedding band on his hand when I met him that night and there wasn’t one now. I also told him to take me back to the hotel where the party was because I had text a friend and asked her to come get me. He was evidently shocked, but only agreed.
Here was MY thought:
“Really? You think I’m that girl?”
Someone, please tell me what is wrong here…
Did I make some thoughtless decisions that night? Yes.
Does that mean that his blatant disrespect for me and his family was my fault? No.
The same friend who picked me up that night posed a striking question:
Would these situations continue to occur if women were less inclined to be silent about them?
Nothing happened, physically. But I left that night feeling vulnerable, cheap, and violated. I felt like the girl who is shoved in the closet when the wife shows up unexpectedly.
And I’m not that girl.
My Father tells me I’m not.
But some men look at women from work events or out with their friends as body parts, not as people who can be damaged by their seemingly careless words and actions.
Here is my point:
MEN: Stop treating women as if they were disposable. You are called to be more. Leaders. Protectors. Friends. Warriors. Fathers. Lovers. Be the man you would want your daughter to associate with. If you don’t have a daughter, be the kind of man you would want your sister, your mother, your niece, your third cousin, to associate with. Be a man.
If you are this man, THANK YOU. If you truly see the value of a woman, not just the woman you are with, but women as a whole, I truly thank God for men like you. Keep doing what you’re doing. You are wonderful and a fantastic example.
If you are struggling to be this man, find a mature, strong, male leader in your community who can mentor you. They exist. I promise you that!
WOMEN: Stop letting men treat you like a doormat. He’ll do and say what you allow him to say.* You are jewels, treasures You are pearls of great price. Precious and honored in your Father’s sight. You’re protected. You’re valuable. You’re loved. You are not anything to be ashamed of. You are to be paraded around as their pride and joy, adored for being the woman God created you as. Speak up when you have been treated inappropriately or spoken to in a derogative manner.
You have a voice. You are empowered. There is not a single person that has a right to treat you (man or woman) in a way that is demeaning or degrading.
I’m not a “man hater.” I’m not a “feminist.”
I’m just a girl, tired of being treated poorly because some guy was bored or drunk or looking to get laid.
I am a prize. I have a voice. I deserve more than cheap words, slurred pick up lines and empty promises.
How do I know that?
My Father tells me that. Every day.
My momma chose a “life verse” for me when I was in high school from the book of Isaiah:
Because you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, people in exchange for your life.
You are precious. You are love. You deserve to be honored. Don’t settle or accept anything less.
The Word of the Lord came to me:
I chose you before I formed you in the womb;
I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
*I am in no way saying that if you have been sexually or physically abused that it is your fault. I understand more than imaginable that bad things happen and are beyond our control. If you have been hurt, I am truly sorry you have had that experience and encourage you to talk to someone if you haven’t already. More than that, I encourage you to seek healing from our Father.