Secular humanism: Driven by social justice and kindness

Thank you for publishing “Reflections From a Secular Humanist,” by Harry Elger. His column succinctly explains secular humanism and the many reasons
one would choose this enlightened worldview. Harry’s writing is clear, easy to read, and he supports his assertions with actual facts. This is often overlooked by many writers.

We look forward to many more articles written by Harry Elger.

Ken & Cheryl Hofbauer, Peoria


Harvey Weinstein and #METOO

Watching #Metoo go viral on social media after actress Alyssa Milano started it in response to the revelation of Hollywood icon Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexually assaulting women, gave me pause.

I hesitated to make the post on my Facebook, when challenged by a Facebook Friend. I hesitated initially because I had never actually been raped but had been sexually harassed like I dare to say every other female.

After making the post, I began to think about my hesitation. I realized even though I knew my experience, I didn’t want others to draw their own conclusion of my #Metoo post.

I began to further examine how I was feeling. Women have been taught to internalize sexual abuse. Whether explicit or implicit, we have been taught sexual assault was something to be ashamed of and to talk about it devalued us as women.

As an African-American woman who has been told more than a few times that I was “using the race card,” talking about sexual harassment has that same kind of feeling. I believe the reason black people often don’t challenge discrimination is the same reason women suffer sexual assault in silence.

Racism and misogyny both have roots in abuse of power. The United States of America has always been a patriarchal society. Sexual abuse is often done in isolation and often by men in positions of power. These men often have consistently gotten away with their abuse.

I believe the 2016 election is a glaring example of the misogynism in this country. Our society was willing to elect a serial sexual abuser, rather than elect a female as president. Donald Trump had over 15 women come forward accusing him of sexual assault. And we all watched the video of him bragging about being able to assault women at will because of who he was.

Since becoming president, Donald Trump has refused to address equal pay for women, he has reversed his predecessor’s policies on allowing the ACA to cover contraception for women, and in September rescinded Barack Obama’s policy on investigating and prosecuting sexual assault at schools and universities. According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, 75 percent of all rape victims are assaulted by someone they know. One in 10 women are raped every year on college campuses, and 34 percent of Native American women are raped in their lifetimes, for African-American women it is 18.8 percent and for white women it is 17.9 percent.

The “Me too” campaign was started by a black woman by the name of Tarana Burke over 10 years ago. Tarana founded this movement after working as a youth camp counselor in Alabama. She tells the story of a 13-year-old girl opening up to her and sharing about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her step-father. After listening for about five minutes, Tarana shut the girl down because her story reminded Tarana of her own sexual abuse.

Tanara stated as the young girl walked away she couldn’t stop thinking, why couldn’t I have just said, “Me too?” Her goal for the “Me too” campaign is to give women a voice, to give us strength, and to give us power.

Sherry Cannon, Peoria

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