I just finished watching a movie about a whistleblower in the tobacco industry. The length people in power are going to shut him down was scaring him – but not enough to keep him quiet.This week a Danish CEO stepped down because she didn’t feel supported in ending oppression – this time it was a case about sexism. She is more afraid of losing her integrity than losing her job.
When we stand up for rights, our truth, and integrity – we – because I know I can include some of you – are essentially whistleblowers ourselves. Everybody likes all the above but when push comes to shove, most of us only want it if we don’t have to risk anything. But the Danish CEO was willing to risk her job.
I know influencers who are still afraid of being completely honest about experiences of oppression they have had because they will lose followers and maybe be banned from SocialMedia.
The oppression is real.
The oppression is only possible when we understandably are afraid of being excluded and abandoned – when we still want to belong to a system that is oppressing us or others.
And it doesn’t really matter what system it is. It can be a family turning a blind eye to a lie instead of facing the truth, it can be a company where they are more afraid of the consequences from a sexual harassment case than abandoning the victims, it can be a group of friends deliberately excluding someone that are calling them out on their unethical behavior. The list is endless – you can probably add your own story.
Besides exclusion the oppressors most common tool is a character assassination. I have over the years been astonished of how creative this happens. Regarding sexism it is often asked… What did you wear? Were you inviting it?
They will often try to break you if you try to break the silence of oppression. They will put you down they will make a case that you are incompetent, that you might even be crazy. The consequences of telling your truth – especially when it is challenging any system – can be high.
BUT should that stop you or me? NO. It didn’t stop the Danish CEO.
It has been amazing over the last year or so how people are speaking up more and more.
I know I don’t want to be afraid anymore. Sometimes the fear still sneak up on me, but when I act despite being afraid that is where the freedom lies. The outcome is not important, and I might not get them to listen – because that might never happen. But I am not afraid, and I will take the risk for ending oppression. Oppression of women, people of other color, different sexual orientations– the list is long.
Do you want to join? Is there anywhere that you feel oppressed or where you are witnessing people being oppressed and you need to take a stand? Risk your comfort and set aside your fear.
That is how we end oppression – we all need to speak up and honor integrity, our truth, and equal rights for all.