Survivors Unite

News, Spring 2018
Melanie Clark

HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS ARE ESSENTIAL

BY MELANIE MORRISSEY CLARK

I remember the exact moment when #MeToo took my breath away. My 20-year-old daughter called me at work and said, “Mom, you won’t believe what’s happening! There’s a movement on social media around sexual assault. Women are speaking out!”

Heart racing, I logged in and started scrolling. Though tears coursed down my cheeks as I read story after story, I felt validated in a way I never had before. For I, too, am a survivor, and I’d been waiting for this day for far too long.

When #MeToo expanded to include sexual harassment, I was thrilled to see realization dawning for many, and was encouraged by long-overdue conversations between husbands and wives, sisters and brothers, mothers and sons.

Now my hope is that it doesn’t stop here. These conversations need to continue. In fact, they need to expand even further to unearth what is really at the root of it all: healthy relationships. This is something the Women’s Fund of Omaha has been talking about for a while now. Because when you think about it, healthy relationships are actually at the heart of all the Women’s Fund’s initiatives—from Sex Trafficking to Economic Security to Adolescent Health.

There is no violence, manipulation or coercion in a healthy relationship. Physical and personal boundaries are respected, and economic insecurities are never exploited. Sex is completely and clearly consensual in a healthy relationship, and care is taken not to expose a partner to an STD or unwanted pregnancy.

Healthy relationships are built on a foundation of respect—and respect is inherent in every interaction. In this issue, we explore how #Me- Too, healthy relationships and our initiatives correlate, and how you can get involved. I believe #MeToo has begun to pave the way for change. People are noticing things they never did before.

They are thinking twice before saying or doing something thoughtless, and they are openly discussing these issues. It’s up to all of us to keep this going. You can start right here. W

 

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