The Rev. Casey dunsworth

serves as Associate Campus Pastor to the Belfry, the Lutheran-Episcopal Campus Ministry to UC Davis

and as Program Director for LEVN, the Lutheran Episcopal Volunteer Network.


I've been a little busy (you know, graduating from seminary) and so I haven't been here, addressing all the things that have caught my attention in the last few months. My newfound freedom (this week has already been sprinkled with "what now?" and "I think I'm bored" more than once) allows for some words on #YesAllWomen, and what that has to do with me.

I've been mulling over just how I want to talk about it, and a lot of that has to do with how everyone else has chosen to talk about it. If you've been on the internet in the last week, you've seen a lot more think pieces about misogyny than you're used to (unless you're me and you follow feminist writers who rarely put down the subject). You've seen the responses from men and women in support and in opposition. I don't really want to give you the scoop on who thought it was great and who thought it was stupid--you have the rest of the internet for that information. What I want to tell you is how I experienced it. Because this is my blog and that's what I do here.

On Saturday night (5/24) I crawled into bed after a wonderfully busy day of graduating and celebrating. I checked Facebook and Instagram to like some more of my classmates' pictures, and then perused twitter to see what had gone on that day, since I'd been largely absent. My feed was full of tweets and retweets tagged #YesAllWomen, sharing stories of harassment and trauma and the added terror of never being heard.

Women empowered each other to tell the world just what it is that we suffer day in and day out. We talked about everyday street harassment: catcalls, demands for smiles, lewd gestures, being followed, additional harassment for refusing advances. We talked about bars: unwanted chatter, drinks that demand something in return, being anonymously groped, additional harassment for refusing advances. We talked about dates: fear of the semi-stranger we'd agreed to meet, escape plans, "got home safe" text messages.

We talked about things like the number of men who hadn't called us for a third date after we'd said "no" to sex on the second. We talked about male friends who regularly use "rape" in sentences that are not about rape. We talked about male friends who think catcalls are compliments. We talked about talking to our friends and partners about our experiences, and about their less-than-thoughtful responses. We talked about how we hadn't necessarily thought about all of these things as misogyny before, but recognized the implications that our bodies were something to which those men felt entitled, and their ability to brush off our worst fears.

In addition, of course, to talking about all of our fears, we talked about why we have these fears in the first place. We talked about stranger rape, and date rape, and partner rape. We talked about intimate partner violence of all kinds. We talked about being attacked on the street and having onlookers literally look on. We talked about stalkers and about police departments who couldn't help until there was a crime committed.

The point is that we talked. We learned more about each other, we learned more about our common lives, we learned more about how to talk to children and adults about the realities of violence. I learned about how common my experiences (and the experiences of my friends) have been. It's hard to explain how gross it feels to feel lucky that I have never been raped. It's a little bit grosser to debate with myself about putting a "yet" in that sentence.

If you're male, think about the ways in which your behavior could be perceived as scary to women. If you can't think of any examples, ask a female friend or your female partner, if you have one. She may love you, but she can probably think of one. And when she next tells you about the harassment she received on her way to your house, worry about that. And when you're next with your male friends and one of them says or does something you think even borders on sexism or misogyny or harassment, say so. That's what it takes.

If you haven't spent time in the #YesAllWomen hashtag, mosey on over and read for yourself what's up. Think about the ways in which you interact with your fellow humans. I know, right? That's really all I'm asking.

Father Abraham -- Matthew 10:24-39

Let's eat; let's walk. -- Luke 24:13-35