I have reflected long and hard on the last few weeks disclosure of sexual harassment, assaults and rape of women in Australia. As an American living in Australia the last 25+ years, I am well aware of the rising #metoo movement that has spread globally. I know some of these statistics and with real names and faces.

To put into clear words without emotion getting the best of me, I too have had sexual harassment from a handful (literally) of men from when I was 18 – 45 years old. This reality has continued to affect me and can openly say that it has not been an easy path to reconcile. 

Though I have trust issues to this day, what keeps me bolstered is the fact that with each incidence, I immediately shutdown the provocation. For me, the challenging trade-off was that after the shutdown, professional advancement was thwarted. Luckily though, I continued to thrive. What saddens me most with the many victims coming to light in the recent time is that so many people in the same situation haven’t felt they could shut it down. 

A call out to the good

I have many male friends, colleagues and bosses over multiple continents who have always acted with the utmost integrity. I know many other males who dedicate their time to social justice, family, coaching and mentoring kids and adults alike. They are good men. 

I have a loving husband of over 20 years whom I trust wholeheartedly and 3 sons which I consider good boys/men, ‘trusted’ boys/men who would never use power and gender to exert their force upon another. Time will tell of course, and I don’t say that lightly or have rose speckled glasses. 

There are women I know who are equally good. Many mothers who are the ultimate volunteer to family and community cannot be overstated. Many women who have chosen or do not have children are a considerable share of the tremendous positive impact on the world. 

Other women have overstepped their role in positions of power and influence and negatively impacted males and females in ways that are despicable. 

It’s really about positions of power and influence 

I bring positions of power and influence as a thread that weaves its way into the darkest of human behaviour. Gender does not go into that existence other than the reality that men in positions of power as a percentage is way out of balance with woman. 

As humans, we are fallible and the fragility of this is one of our society’s most dangerous truths. It is also our greatest opportunity to evolve and be better humans. 

The path toward exercising control of our impulses and urges and our humility in power and influence is our own reckoning to deliberate and then live through our actions. Actions that don’t harm ourselves and others.

There are many pathways toward greatness and many pathways toward abusiveness. We all have a part to play in the way we conduct ourselves. May we together, male and female alike, reach a higher level of human development. We owe that to ourselves and society at large. 


  • Dr Deb Roberts has a PhD in public health. She is a writer, speaker, yoga teacher and mental health advocate. American born, she lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband, three sons and golden retrievers Sparky and Indi. You can read more of her writing on her blog.