So why is it that I am finally starting to have some hope?
For so many years I (and others) have held on to secrets of female victims of not only sexual harassers in the animal movement but also both men and women bullies in the animal movement.
I know that not all of the harassers or bullies have been exposed. The fact that some have is an incredible relief, though there are more organizations that need to be cleared of racists, bullies, and harassers.
Although I know many people are disheartened by the acts of people who they once held in high esteem and are possibly feeling saddened―or worse, lost―I feel for you. But please try to remember that the responsibility is really on those who committed these actions.
Please know these revelations ARE progress and mean a better future for human animals who work to advocate for animal rights/liberation. This, overall, means better news for the animals too.
If you have ever worked in an environment where there is a bully, part of your job becomes working to protect yourself and others, and the bullying itself takes time away from helping the animals.
I know there has been sympathy for some of these harassers and also concern that they themselves are being bullied, but at the end of the day, our work is for the animals, and these organizations will only be stronger without these employees and with employees who do not spend half of their days talking to other staff, their family, friends, partners, etc., about how badly they are treated.
Trust me. It is trauma, and when you are being traumatized, you talk to others so you feel less alone. Personally, my health was impacted by a bully in our movement to the point where I had to wear a heart monitor, and the doctor was able to pinpoint that my heart palpitated every time I was interacting with this person. The doctor’s recommendation: quit your job. My response: you don’t understand – I want to do the work for the animals!
The idea that even one group right now has cleaned house – it is giving me hope. A bully is gone from an organization.
Another reason to have hope? Those young people in Parkland, Florida, who are taking control of the horrible situation they have endured and using their voices, their votes, and their power to not only create change but to demand it.
They are inspiring and they are here and now and our future. They are looking out for one another, and that gives me hope for a future that is stronger, more compassionate, and just.
Overall, my hope is coming from people who are speaking the truth – even if they are scared, they are doing it anyway – they are doing it for the greater good, not just themselves.
And I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes:
Leave safety behind. Put your body on the line. Stand before the people you fear and speak your mind – even if your voice shakes. When you least expect it, someone may actually listen to what you have to say. Well-aimed slingshots can topple giants. And do your homework.