All I want for Christmas is…

Posted On: December 27, 2011

This article first appeared on PublicHouse.sg.

It started as a post on my Facebook: “Please comment: What I want for Christmas is…”

The answers came fast and furious ranging from:

More positive sexuality:

“Comprehensive Sex Education Programs in Public Schools!” for Dorian Gomez, Art Director & Resident Curator at Erotic Heritage Museum of Las Vegas.

“….end of religious conflicts on planet Earth. True Love Heals, truly. Sex is merely a tool, …”

For the greater good of mankind:

“Equality of men and women; education for all; eradication of extremes in wealth and poverty; racial equality – the usual things!” for Susan Ludwig Goharriz who is a beloved friend and a registered nurse from Ontario, Canada.

“The end of the Dominator era” (which I take to mean: the end of a hierarchical approach of governance).

To the personal:

“‎…to sleep as long as I want to and not have to get out of my pyjamas all day… (I don’t think this has happened since I was 9)”

“A new year of peace and harmony, more ME time and pay off all my debts! Mmm! :-)”

“Healthy kids” from a mother of two.

To connecting with another:

“…heart expanding connection with Beloved”

“Someone to cuddle, chat n enjoy the Christmas spirit.”

“smiles”

About local politics

“The govt to be less fridget?” (or frigid)

And the suggestive

“a 3D printer — because then….” by Steve McGough.

“Lets get real, A pair of tits to satisfy my lust. Lol”

However I got one reply that had a singular alphabet “U”. He is engaged to be married. Then a second one came in, “YOU”. This one is married.

Enough was enough. Besides deleting their posts, I sent them warnings as well as posted on my Facebook wall:

“While I am a sexologist and sexuality educator and talk about sex all the time, it does not mean I deserve and am open to have inappropriate sexual advances directed at me. It is called sexual harassment. Joking about wanting ME for Xmas is NOT funny!”

The responses that came included:

Support:

“‎{{{HUGS}}} It is amazing what some people can say hidden behind their screens. I’m sorry, hon.”

Comment:

“Lame and perverted”

Agreement:

“Yes, very true”

Calls to ignore:

“Martha, ignore these pple. They r juz being shallow!”

“They don’t deserve anymore attention than what you have just said”

“Martha Lee, just ignore these perverts, obviously they have no respect at all & they don’t deserve yr respect… stay cool :D”

Of course I thought of ignoring such people. This was my reply:

“I don’t think being passive and letting them get away with such abuse is appropriate either. Speaking up and calling their bluff may well alter behavior. I will just continue speaking up for me. Thanks very much.”

Deborah Yuen (somebody I have never met) spoke up:

“I agree with you Martha. It’s not good to ignore them, because they have already violated you in their minds. It’s best to stand up to them and shut them up, so they won’t do this anymore. So what if you are an expert on sex, it doesn’t mean you see yourself as a prostitute!”

She added, 11 minutes later:

“Sexual harassment is actually a form of sexual abuse. When you are sexually harassed, you are actually shamed and wounded in your self esteem. They are actually demeaning you and placing you beneath them (in ranking and importance). If you keep allowing them to do that to you without standing up to them, it will affect your self esteem. Standing up to them will heal your self esteem and the wounding inflicted on you. You need to stand up to abuse for your own healing and self-respect.”

I actually do love the discussion of what this seemingly innocent question of “What I want for Christmas is…” triggered.

I had actually moved beyond shock, disgust, and anger at these two men in a matter of seconds. My posting on my Facebook wall was not about retaliation. I could just block these two and that would have been the end of it, but instead decided to use it as a teachable moment. My reaction was replaced with curiosity, delight and awe with what people on Facebook, especially Deborah, had to say.

How many of us truly understand what sexual harassment is? Do we even discuss those parameters? How often does a woman speak up against unacceptable sexually charged language directed at her (in this case, me)? And what are the odds of another fellow woman (a complete stranger, no less) totally getting it and furthering the understanding for all to read? Priceless.

What I want for Christmas is to be recognised for the individual that I am (not for my gender, sexuality or looks), for the work I do, for the lives I transform, and for the legacy of living life fully and fearlessly.

Happy holidays.

All names used with permission.

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