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Between Men and Women, Where is the Hope?

Tension runs high between the sexes as women are attacked on the national level.


I found hope for the relations between men and women at a table on a sidewalk.

Six people were sitting at the table, both benches filled, no room for any others. There was tension, even though everyone at the table had met before, had interacted together well in the past. No one had disagreements or disputes; no grudges were held.

Yet, there was tension with every word, every movement.

You’ve probably been feeling that tension as well these days. It is not hard to sum up when you see the news of the Kavanaugh hearing. There is no doubt about the tension between men and women. No doubt when women are under attack at the federal level. These are not easy times.

So where is the hope? Hope sits at the table with people listening to one another’s experience with compassion. Put the ego aside and be present.

So where is the hope? Hope rests in the knowledge that we are finally having the discussion on violence against women in our society. We are finally addressing the excuses, the lies, the deceit, and the coercive nature of systematized abuse.

So where is the hope? Hope is in the courage of the women who are saying something even in the face of fear and threats. There is hope in the men who believe them, and in the men who WILL interrupt sexism and abuse when they see it, hear it, read it.

It is said that a pessimist sees the glass as half empty, the optimist as half full. The morning after Dr. Ford and Justice Kavanaugh testified, it seemed inevitable: Senator Flake said he was voting for the confirmation to proceed. How do we see this glass?

But then two women intercepted him at the elevator. They demanded his attention. They had hope they could change his mind, and they acted on that hope. They persisted.

Culture doesn’t change all at once. It changes in small victories won in elevators.

And sometimes hope comes in the form people around a table listening to one another.

(Editor’s note: Lead Editor Paul Hartzer contributed a passage to this item.)

This essay was featured in the Oct. 7th edition of The Sunday Paper, Maria Shriver’s free weekly newsletter for people with passion and purpose. To get inspiring and informative content like this piece delivered straight to your inbox each Sunday morning, click here to subscribe.




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