Posted by: joshjasper | February 26, 2009

It’s not about me

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter”  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Because I am Catholic, I have throughout the years given up many things during the Lenten season.  This year is no different in that I will be giving up soda, alcohol, and bread.  While abstaining from the previously listed items, I am also committed to exercising daily, all with the intentions of becoming more healthy.

I read something last night though that got me thinking about my fasting and how fasting is intended to affect other people for the better.  For example, if a person were to give up their specialty coffee, the money saved would then be donated to a food pantry or other charity.  It occurred to me that my resolutions were about myself and should involve others.

This train of thought led me to realize that often times I am teaching or discussing violence prevention practices that I myself do not always adhere to on a daily basis.  For example, I had a discussion with a close friend last night and he made a sexist remark.  I immediately was aware of the comment made but said nothing.  I of course rationalized that because the comment was made once and seemingly intended to be non threatening, it was okay for me to remain silent.  I was wrong and I knew it.

Everyday each of us are faced with specific opportunities to become the active bystander and are able to challenge behaviors that often lead to sexual violence.  (inappropriate sexual comment, sexual harassment, etc.)

Think about what you would do in this specific circumstance….

It’s Friday night and you are walking by the movie theater with some friends.  A male friend of yours spots a beautiful woman.  He makes some loud comments about her body and starts to hassle her.

There are a lot of things to consider in this example.  3 thoughts:

1.  Consider when to intervene.  Since the “perpetrator” is your friend, you may have the chance to intervene immediately, later in the evening or even the next day.  If your friend is drunk, it might be more effective to reach him when he is sober.

2.  Acknowledge the situation.  If you decide to wait to talk with your friend, you can still acknowledge the impact on the woman.  Someone in the group could steer your friend away from the woman while another member of the group apologizes  for the harm caused.

3.  Have the conversation.  Begin by telling the person you care about them.  Then let them know that because you care, you are talking about the impact of his behaviors.  Then describe how his behaviors made you feel.  Lastly, point out how it might feel if those behaviors were directed at someone he loves.



  1. Your website offers a lot of unique insights and information. I haven’t really thought about it like that. Please keep updating your Blog. I will be stopping over every time u do it .

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