The challenge was thrown down. I was told to “create something permanent and tangible to support women through the #metoo and #timesup movements”. After a lot of thought and collaboration with amazing people, the Never Again Challenge is my response.
Actions speak louder than words, and although many men are stepping forward to speak out against the subjugation of women through sexual and other forms of harassment, it is not enough. Of course, the dialogue must continue, however, it is also time for men to publicly take action in a global show of support.
I am guilty. When I was a child, my mother always told me to treat every woman the way I would want her, a future wife, potential future daughters, and any female friends to be treated, unfortunately I chose to ignore her advice.
Not unlike many men born in the 60’s (and dare I say before that), my early career witnessed me make inappropriate comments, and embracing a mistaken perception of the role of women in society. Sadly, my mother is no longer with us, however, today I do have a wonderful wife, two incredible daughters, and many great female friends, therefore, it is not without merit that her words ring all too prophetically in my ears. Luckily, age and experience have shown me that when something is so glaringly wrong, a large enough collaborative of people can make it right.
The Never Again Challenge: Men “Inking” Their Support for Women
Permanent: For us it means a symbol that acts as a lifetime reminder of a vow to change the paradigm, a change that can only occur if millions of men around the world step forward to constantly and consistently show their support. Changing a behavior and narrative that has been around since Adam was a boy will take a serious and cohesive effort, hence we feel that a communal display of an equally serious intention to effect change is necessary. Change will not happen overnight, but the greater the public displays of support, the faster we can build the size of collaboration that will be required to achieve a new normal.
The symbol is a tattoo that I videoed myself getting on January 21st, 2018. It is a representation of support for the #metoo and #timesup movements, and it is about as permanent as it gets. It depicts the Chalice (a symbol of the feminine), being supported by the Blade (a symbol of the masculine). Within each, the #metoo and #timesup hashtags are appropriately located, and where they meet we at last find equality and unity.
It was deliberately designed to be inexpensive and to takes less than 30 minutes to have done, and we are already working on a global competition where women vote for the tattoo that best represents this truly important movement.
Tangible: For my team and I it means funding, as the global subjugation of women is so pervasive that hundreds of millions of dollars will be required to fund the organizations providing the help and support that will be required. Women are continually being subjugated, sexually and physically abused, and dare I say sold into slavery. Too many of these women have nowhere to go, no money with which to fight their oppressors, and little hope unless we fund organizations that can help them.
The Challenge: Get millions of men around the world to get a Tattoo (the original, any small any part of it, or a total new design incorporating #metoo and or #timesup) so that a global alliance literally “inks” its support for the cause, while helping fund the resources required for equality and unity to be achieved.
In a similar manner to the Ice Bucket challenge, we are using social media to encourage millions of men to participate, with those getting a tattoo donating $25, and those opting not to get one donating a minimum of $100. Those opting to get the tattoo are asked to video it so that it may be used as a call out to their friends. Here is the original video showing Chris at the Iron Lotus Tattoo Parlor in West Ashley, Charleston, SC, "inking" support on my arm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YvoCnoKYYLw.
The Stewards: The 501(c)(3) Sophia Institute (www.thesophiainstitute.org) is acting as the steward of all donations i.e. all donations are made directly to the Institute through the donation portal on its website. The leadership of the Sofia Institute has passionately agreed to receive, administer, and distribute the funds (see below) with full transparency, including an accounting of where every penny is distributed and used clearly being shown on its website.
Regarding the distributions, a number of initial organizations have been identified to receive the funds raised. The initial list is:
The Joyful Heart Foundation
Break The Silence
Southern Poverty Law Center
Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund
National Resource Center for Domestic Violence. This organizations supports the Safe Housing Partnership, National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, and a group of other incredible organizations
The Sophia Institute is happy to receive suggestions of other institutions that would be appropriate to receive funding.
As stewards of the donations, the Sophia Institute will retain 10% of the donations to help with the costs of overall administration, and to expand their own portfolio of events that focus on women’s empowerment.
Important: No one involved with the genesis of the Never Again Challenge has any affiliation with the Sophia Institute, are on the board, or are on any committees. None of our family members work there, and no one does or will receive any payments or fees of any kind from it. No one involved in the genesis of the Never Again Challenge will receive any kind of payment or fee for its creation.
Before we decided to launch this effort, we spoke to numerous men and received a stunning response, even friends in their 70’s are excited about participating. In our research, we discovered that Millennials are often referred to as the “tattoo generation”, and were reminded that the eldest Millennials are 37, and hence many will already have daughters. It is our hope that many fathers from this demographic participate. Another encouraging sign is that many women have already started urging their husbands, sons, brothers, fathers, boyfriends etc., to participate.
It is time for men to step forward, so please join us in accepting and promoting the challenge to change the future for women. Personally, I want to use the words of my mother to encourage as many men as possible to participate. “I am a woman, your future wife and potential daughters will be women, so treat every woman as you would hope other men will treat the women in your life”.
Thank you for stepping forward.
For and on behalf of the Never Again Challenge,