‘Time’s Up’. #MeToo. These movements have recently taken center. They’ve been all over social media, they’ve taken over the Oscars, Emma Watson has just been seen sporting a tattoo of “Times Up” on her forearm (yep, she forgot the apostrophe in her own tattoo, lucky it was fake).
The message is loud and clear that we women and the men who support us will no longer keep silent against sexual harassment and discrimination and that we will eventually end it!
As a feminist, I was excited to be living at a time this was happening. Finally, I thought, women were going to gain the freedom to be treated equally and to be able to spread their wings and fly.
But after that initial feeling of empowerment, it didn’t take very long to find reasons for my hope in this movement to fade.
Firstly, after many brave victims chose to share their stories with the world, the amount of skepticism regarding why celebrities were only choosing to tell their stories now (and behind that, the assumption that these women’s stories were not credible or that they were simply vying for attention) was particularly difficult to hear.
How are we meant to even get close to ending sexual harassment, when the victims are questioned for not coming forward quickly enough, but the same suspicions are not directed at the perpetrators who’ve done these crimes in the first place?
Secondly, this is not the first time sexual harassment has been fought on a large scale. Whilst Hollywood is now wearing black to show their solidarity and slamming Kate Middleton when she chooses not to wear black at the British Academy Film Awards (as if wearing black will magically solve the problem), the very fact that we are up to “fourth-wave feminism” shows that these sexist attitudes still exist despite generations of effort.
And with each new allegation against a celebrity, there were countless comments on Facebook from men and women expressing their disappointment in the futility of their efforts, as they recounted their younger years of taking to the streets to protest and their extensive energy in campaigning against sexism.
Many who grew up in the 60s expressed the futile sentiment “I thought love would be enough, but I guess it wasn’t.”
When I was starting to feel overwhelmed by the hopelessness of it all – I searched for another cure. I would play the last part of Oprah’s speech on repeat:
“So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon! And when that new day finally dawns, it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight, and some pretty phenomenal men, fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody ever has to say “me too” again.”
It continued to uplift me as I listened to it daily until one day it no longer had any effect - the day when someone dear to me told me she had just been sexually assaulted.
Oprah’s emotive speech and the world speaking up was not enough to stop what was continuing to happen behind closed doors. And even though I didn’t want to believe it, I had to resign to the terrible fact that there would never be a day where no body would have to say “me too”.
So for all of those who fought for women’s rights, who fought for peace, who fought for love: why wasn’t love enough?
The first book of the bible gives us the answer. The depravity of the human heart was never going to be conquered by our own tainted notion of love.
In Genesis Chapter 1, God repeatedly states that “it was good”. The sanctuary that we all dream and long for now, is the world as God originally gave it to us.
Yet it only takes to Chapter 3 where humans reject God and thus our relationship with Him and each other is broken. The Fall makes everything fall to pieces pretty fast.
A chapter later, we’ve already disintegrated to the world’s first murder. Genesis Chapter 6, verse 5 reads “The LORD saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time”. The flood was sent to start a clean slate but water was not enough to wash away human sin and humans continued to act in sin throughout the bible.
Yet God did not give up on us. The first glimmerings of the gospel are heard in Genesis Chapter 3, verse 15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” This ‘Seed’ is the promise of the Messiah, who will suffer but will ultimately conquer all evil. And whilst the flood could not wash away human’s sin, Jesus’ blood could.
The terrible acts of sexual violence, murder and every form of hate will never be stopped solely by us speaking out and saying it will be no more.
Instead of our cry being “Time’s Up”, we need to cry out “Let Your Kingdom Come”.
Instead of Oprah’s dream of a new day dawning, we should put our hope in the words of Revelation Chapter 21, verses 3-4.
“And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Whilst I pray for God’s kingdom to come I will do what I can to live it out now on earth. I will still be a feminist - I will keep fighting for equality, keep speaking up, keep grieving with those who suffer injustices, standing up for those who are voiceless and yes even taking part in the movements to come.
But my hope should never have been primarily in this world and in solutions by us humans who are the very perpetrators of sin itself. Rather, I needed reminding that my hope is in the real remedy of Jesus. So I encourage you to remember where your hope lies and to pray for and let others know where they can find real hope.
Melissa Ramoo is a physiotherapist, Pilates instructor and studying a bachelor of Ministry at Morling College in Sydney. She’s married to her husband Roshan