Last year I was cycling by myself when I suddenly fell and did the ultimate face plant. I don’t remember the fall, just waking up with my head laying across a man’s leg. I heard him call 911 and report my list of injuries. I remember him telling me I broke my wrist and me telling him my wrist didn’t hurt but a spot on my arm was killing me. I asked him to apply pressure to the spot to relieve the intense pain. I also remember my fear of going into shock and talking to him about it. He told me I wasn’t in shock and kept talking to me to keep down my anxiety.
He sat with me on the hot pavement for over half an hour directing others who stopped to help on what I needed and how to guide in the paramedics. My head remained resting on his leg as the paramedics examined me. They finally moved me onto a board. Somewhere in my befuddled mind I thought about how uncomfortable this man must have been sitting on the hot pavement, keeping me comfortable and calm.
As I was loaded into the ambulance I heard him say he would take care of my bike and meet me at the hospital. As promised, he met me in the emergency room. From there, he contacted each of my daughters who lived in other towns and informed them of my accident. He continued to stay with me as I went through a series of x-rays and tests. He helped me talk to the doctors, explain the accident and understand my injuries. He was still there four hours later when one of my daughters arrived and explained my condition to her. He continued to stay with me, postponing dinner with his family until I was released later that evening. He helped me to my daughter’s car.
He took my bike to the shop to be repaired and a few days later brought it to my house. That day I finally got a chance to talk to him coherently. I learned who he was and thanked him profusely for all he did for me.
He was my hero. My knight in shining armor. I told my daughters I wished more men were like him.
Recently, I found out that my hero is now caught up in the Hollywood #MeToo sex scandals. He was accused of a horrific sexual assault that allegedly took place many years ago. He was instantly professionally ruined.
Like so many others, I found myself in a predicament:
How do I reconcile the man I met who was so chivalrous to me with the man he is accused of being?
My gut reaction was to want out – out of having to think about this and the confusion I was feeling. The exit door was very clear.
I could immediately condemn him just like the Hollywood A-listers did.
Jumping on the condemnation bandwagon is the easy way out. Condemning him was Personally Expedient. It would rescue me from my predicament and from having to do the messy work of figuring out the Truth.
This thought suddenly put me on the other side – remembering all the times I spoke up and sought justice on behalf of someone who was being bullied, harasses or abused – and was dismissed because it was Personally Expedient.
Whether it was a manager, HR or a witness, they didn’t want to get involved because it was uncomfortable and messy. So, they took the exit door.
They elevated what was Personally Expedient above the Truth and doing what was Right.
This is what most people do. I know there are many people who read the first half of this article and condemned the man without knowing the full story. They did it because it was Personally Expedient.
Finding the Truth is messy and uncomfortable. When you seek the Truth you can be bullied, harassed and threatened by people whose only objective is to distance themselves from the situation – they just want to make you go away.
I know from my experience that finding the Truth requires an open mind and cleansing yourself of preconceptions because the journey to the Truth can take you in many different directions. Sometimes the true situation is as presented by the accuser. Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes seeking the Truth takes you down a long path where you discover there is an even larger problem where the true source of the abuse is well-masked and well-protected.
That is the real lesson everyone needs to take away from #MeToo is simple:
You can’t find the Truth, do what is Right and get Justice if you choose to do what is Personally Expedient.
So, the next time you hear a story about an abuser or harasser, don’t immediately jump on the condemnation bandwagon because it is Personally Expedient. You don’t know the Truth yet.
Likewise, the next time someone comes to you with an accusation, don’t dismiss them because it is Personally Expedient. And don’t just offer empathy, consolation and/or outrage because that is also doing what is Personally Expedient.
Do more. Do what is Right. Seek the Truth. And get Justice.
Empowered Women Seek the Truth
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