Early last year, I attended what the Army calls a Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) course for two weeks. I learned a lot in this course, but one aspect that bothered me then and still does to this day is the fact that the instructor informed us that the Army’s “goal” is to reduce sexual assaults by 50%. I immediately raised my hand and asked, “Why 50%? Why isn’t 100% up there?” While I do think a lot of people saw where I was coming from, the instructor just gave me this strange look and then one of my classmates, a lieutenant colonel, raised his hand and answered, in a very condescending manner, that “100% is not realistic.” I asked, “Why isn’t it? How is the Army preaching stopping sexual assault when the goal isn’t even 100%?” I was basically dismissed at that point as someone who simply didn’t understand how things worked.
Oh, but I did understand. I understood VERY well. The Army is saying that yes, they’ll look to stop as many as they can, but that we shouldn’t expect miracles. Yeah, tell that to that victim after she has been sexually assaulted. “Yeah, we did what we could, but it wasn’t realistic to expect us to catch that guy who did this to you.” Not to mention, how intimidating is the goal of reducing sexual assault by 50% to those who will do this one day? To them, those are GREAT odds. Think of it this way…if a criminal intends on breaking into your home and you have a sign up saying, “I have guns, and I will shoot 50% of the people who break into my house,” is that really going to scare a criminal off? Of course not. Now if that sign said, “I have guns and ANYONE who breaks into my house will be shot.” Now there’s no guarantee there that everyone actually will be. Yet, what is that criminal going to think in seeing that sign as opposed to the other? Will that stop them? Not necessarily…but if either sign WAS to deter, which one sounds more likely to do so?
In another case, a childhood friend of mine developed epilepsy in recent years. As devastating as this was to her, even more was the fact that she told me many of her friends and family members told her that she was “done.” Her life was going to take a turn for the worse. It won’t be getting any better for her. That’s strange…because I know quite a few people with epilepsy living perfectly normal lives or very close to it. How about Danny Glover, Neil Young, Prince, Susan Boyle, along with New York Jets guard, Alan Faneca? If their lives are “done,” sign me up.
I can think of many more examples, but let me go in another direction. Many days on Facebook, I like to write posts of encouragement. A lot of my friends and family appreciate it, but most people, I’m certain, think it’s nothing but crap and they largely blow it off. For them to blow it off isn’t my issue, because I get that my posts just aren’t for everyone. But there are people out there who really just have a hard time seeing that good things are NOT totally impossible and that the bad things in life don’t HAVE to be inevitable and this has absolutely nothing to do with me.
Why is that?
Society is generally negative. I get that part. People complain often about the news not being very positive, but when viewing certain news pages on Facebook, the negative stories are the ones people comment on the most. The positive stories get VERY little attention and the news these days, especially when it comes to social media, mostly just looks for whatever story that will get people talking the most, whether the story is true or not.
One thing that has never made sense to me is when people say that excessive negativity is “being real.” Says who? Who determined that pointing out all the bad things is the “truth”?
The great thing about the TRUTH is that it exists, whether we want it to or not. Yes, that means certain negative aspects of our lives are the truth…
…but that means certain POSITIVE aspects are as well.
I get that some people are just so used to negativity that it has essentially taken over their lives to where there’s really not much feeling of anything positive going on. That’s where this thought of negativity being the “truth” comes from.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Certain things in life have sort of brainwashed us into thinking that simply, that is the best things will ever be. When my friend was told that epilepsy would cause her life to just go downhill, to pair that up with the devastation of this striking her for the first time as an adult, it would make perfect sense to feel that maybe, this just might be the point where life goes downhill for her.
But about all those who told her this…how many of them are doctors? How many are knowledgeable on epilepsy? I’m guessing NONE. Even I, as a person who absolutely loves to do research and am researching something just about every single day, was NOT aware of epilepsy and the REAL effects until my friend talked to me more about it. Seeing as to how I’m sure others don’t get as excited about research as I do, I’m not exactly going to put a lot into those who told my friend what they did and I’m glad that she finally reached a point where she stopped believing it also.
As for the sexual assaults, the fact that it happens every day makes it easy to believe that it’s not realistic to expect that it will ever stop (By the way, I only addressed the Army because of the course I took, but I’m aware that unfortunately, this is EVERYWHERE). But what says that this HAS to happen every day? Statistics? Lazy folks who don’t care enough? The norm?
None of those excuses, especially as far as sexual assault, are good enough for me.
Especially as far as we men are concerned. Now we all have no problem in boasting to everyone about what would happen to the men involved if this happened to our daughters. WE would never be okay with our daughters falling outside of the 50% category, right? In that case, we’d expect the powers that be to go above and beyond to make sure this doesn’t happen. So why is it okay for other women (and men) to be outside of it? Oh, because we “can’t stop them all,” right? So why even TRY to get them all?
My point is that for most of the negative things that exist in our lives, there is nothing and I mean NOTHING that says they HAVE to be that way or that this is where we’re destined to be and remain. People who end up in wheelchairs are told all the time that they’d never walk again only to be doing so later on. Even though this isn’t guaranteed and it does take a LONG time in most cases, even doctors are wrong about this kind of stuff pretty often.
Life isn’t bad for many of us because that’s “just the way it is.” Most of the time, choices are made that led to things being that way, which means that choices can ALSO be made to get them to NOT be that way. For my friend with epilepsy, no, she didn’t choose for things to go that way, but there is NOTHING that says that what her friends and family told her is the absolute truth. In that case, she DOES have a choice to not believe it and make the best out of her life, which, as described above with the list of celebrities who suffer from epilepsy, can still be absolutely AMAZING.
We just have to stop this mindset of thinking that bad is inevitable and that good is impossible. There are way too many examples out there that disprove this. If you want proof, just look around. We have to stop believing what’s considered as the “norm” and take a look for ourselves. I see great things happen EVERY SINGLE DAY. I know I’m not the only one.
For you to choose to read this, that proves I’m not the only one. You believe it, too. These things would not happen if good was impossible and bad was inevitable.
THIS is where you need to start. Just say, “GOOD IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE…BAD IS NOT INEVITABLE,” and go from there.
Thanks for reading.