A Day in the Life of Sexual Harassment

It’s always been there, you just didn’t want to see.

***TW: Sexual Harassment Content***

Over the past month at least 20 high profile men have been accused of sexual abuse towards younger individuals. As more and more men are being accused society seems to be acting so shocked at this news. People are shocked at the number of men being accused, who is being accused, and the number of people accusing those men of abusing them. We are shocked that these men that we have come to respect have done such terrible acts. The reality is live in a society that a man can be respected regardless of his abusive past, or even elected President. Nothing about these stories should be shocking while we have a sexual abuser running our country.

I am only shocked by one thing, how shocked everyone around me is. My shock stems from the fact that these kinds of stories happen everyday and are all around us, and we just don’t want to notice. A typical day for women is filled with many instances of sexual harassment from small to big. For example, here is what a day in the life of a woman looks like.

I woke up on my day off and wanted to have a relaxing day at a coffee shop. After a long week at work I wanted to do some self care and do my makeup and put on a pretty dress. I wanted to take myself out on a date. I got all ready to go and began my short walk from my apartment to the coffee shop on the beach. This walk takes around 5 minutes. As many woman do I put my headphones in and sunglasses on so I can avoid unwanted sounds and divert my eyes from strangers easily. As I wanted along the beach I passed by a pizza place where 7 men began to cat call me as I passed by loud enough that I could hear it over my music. I turned around to see their faces looking me up and down, while one even pointed at me. I turned around walked faster and tried to ignore them. All of these men were 50+ years of age.

I got to the coffee shop and tried to brush off what had just happened to me because it wasn’t like it was anything new. I got my coffee and food and stood there strategically looking at the porches layout to pick the right table. I purposefully picked a spot in the back corner of the porch to avoid people’s eyes. This was a fruitless effort. Within 20 minutes a group of old married couples came to get ice cream at the shop next door and sat down a couple tables away from me. When I looked up from my laptop I locked eyes with three of the men staring at me. I quickly diverted my eyes and tried to act busy on my laptop. When I looked back up only one was looking now. Even as I looked away I could feel his gaze looking me over. When I turned back to look for a third time his wife had noticed what he was doing. Instead of telling her creepy husband to stop staring at this girl, who was young enough to be his granddaughter, she turned to me to give me a nasty look. She continued to do so until the group was done with their ice cream and left.

Not five minutes after this incident another man in his 40s approached me. He was wearing a button up shirt with all but the lowest button open, thick chest hair trying to be shown off, seven thick silver chains, and white hat turned to the side. I saw him walking towards me along the glass divider that separated us. I viciously kept my eyes locked on my computer screen and earphones in as women have been taught to do when ignoring men. He came up to me and stared at me through the glass divider for at least a minute trying to move around to grab my attention. He then moved forward as to be in my eyeline even when I was looking at my computer. He waved and began trying to talk to me. I continued my efforts to ignore him hoping he would get the hint and leave. He clinked on the glass and began talking louder. I turned to him and told him “no sorry,” waving my hand in his face. He kept talking and I kept repeating that, so he continued to talk louder. I told him I was working and need to focus and he told me “let me buy you a drink.” I responded “I don’t want a drink, please go away.” He got mad and kept berating me to let him buy me a drink. Every time I repeated “I don’t want a drink, please go away.” He then began telling me how beautiful I was and asking if I had a boyfriend. “Please leave me alone,” I responded. He pleaded with me that I was too pretty to be alone. I looked him directly in the eye and said “Please go away.” He got mad and left. I turned away and fought back tears that I could feel pooling in my eyes. I tried to shake it off but I couldn’t and I feared he would come back so I got up and left.

I walked to the beach and sat down thinking that watching the sun hit the waves would calm me down. As I sat down one man approached me on my right side and perched 5 feet away from me. He would occasionally look over and stare at me. Every time I took out my headphones he would move closer to me, until he was right beside me. This time I didn’t take out my headphones but he still tried to talk to me. He got the hint and then gave up and left. A second man came over and was talking on the phone. He lounged next to me and stared me up and down while on the phone. He stared at me for close to 20 minutes until he hung up the phone then sat down next to me and kept scooting closer. He began talking, just like the other man had, and I ignored him. He then touched my arm to get my attention. I took out my headphones and he began speaking to me. I gave him one word answer and then put my headphones back in. He stared at me for a second and then shook his head angrily and moved. I couldn’t see him in my peripheral vision and I froze. I became terrified that he was behind me and would try to grab me. I didn’t see him walk away for two minutes and then eventually I saw him walk away and not come back. I broke down and started crying. I grabbed all my stuff and quickly started walking home.

As I was walking trying to hide my tears a car pulled over to honk at me while the men inside whistled and and ogled at me. I walked faster and they slowly followed me down the street. I would turn around to see if they were following me and they would just wink and keep whistling. I walked even faster just trying to make it home. I was shaking with fear on the verge of a breakdown. I finally made it home, looking over my shoulder every second to make sure the men in the car hadn’t followed me. I sprinted upstairs and when I got inside I collapsed. I sobbed while telling my roommates what had happened to me. That day my body wasn’t my own.

I had felt so harassed and dehumanized like I was a piece of meat these men could enjoy. To these men I was nothing other than a pretty face to prey on. I couldn’t look myself in the mirror because I hated myself. I hated the fact that I had gone outside all dressed up, and blamed myself for these responses. I believed because I went outside in makeup and a dress, I asked for this. Although everything in my body told me that was wrong, my victim blaming instincts took over. I felt like a slut and so dirty. I could still feel these men’s gazes. I sat in the burning shower crying and scrubbing myself raw just trying to feel clean.

I then thought about all the people who I had seen recently posting about being surprised about these accusations, and I got angry. I became angry because I knew that they were the people all around me today. They were the bystanders that watched these men harass me and either did nothing or blamed me for these males actions. These people were shocked because they weren’t paying attention to the horrors around them.  They had been socialized to turn a blind eye, and that is exactly what they had done. They were shocked because these were older respectable men, yet every single one of the men who harassed me that day was over the age of 40. Age does not dictate respect, and does not make them immune to preying on young girls. In fact older men are my worst harassers. This is what it is like to live a day as a woman. Some days are worse and some days are better. So when you read about stories about sexual assault and harassment the reality is you don’t get to be shocked. It was there are along you just didn’t want to see it.

My Thoughts and Prayers are With [INSERT CITY HERE]

Growing Up in the Age of Gun Violence

 

The first time that I remember a mass shooting as a kid was when I was 3. Most people will never forget The Columbine High School Massacre on April 20th, 1999. Although I was very young and didn’t really understand what was happening I somehow remember the shock and horror around me. It was as if my brain was preparing me for something. It was the first time that I remember I could be shot anywhere. The next shooting I remember was one that hit home. I was 11 and there was a shooting at the Seattle Jewish Federation on July 28, 2006. My family had lost someone to a mass shooting in our own very neighborhood. I remember my mother’s tears and my communities despair. I remember how everything changed. Security guards started monitoring my Sunday school and my Synagogue had tighter security. It was the first time in my life that I understood that a person could hated me so much that they wanted to kill me just because I was Jewish. As a young adult I remember the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14th, 2012. I was 17 and I watched President Obama’s speech in a public library sobbing at the atrocity that had just happened. It was the first time that I realized everyone was at risk, even small children. “Since then there have been at least 1,552 mass shootings, with at least 1,767 people killed and 6,227 wounded,” according to a recent Vox article. There have been 1,552 mass shootings in as little as 5 years, one essentially everyday. For kids today this is our reality, and now we have become numb.

For example, 2 days ago and white terrorist walked into a Southern Baptist Church in Texas and opened fire. He killed 26 people, and injured many more. When this happened we all got the news alerts and text updates. I was sitting in my living room watching tv with some roommates. I looked at my phone read the news headline out loud. My roommates looked up said “I know” then we all put our phones back down and continued on. It was as if I had told them the weather, or what the time was. No one responded in tears or even any visible signs of emotions. What I said didn’t interrupt our lives in anyway. We just carried on. We aren’t monsters for doing this, and the reality is I know many people who probably did the same thing. It isn’t that we don’t care about these people, we have just seen this before. This thing that is such a horrific event, that should stop us in our tracks and make us fall to the ground in despair, is now a norm in today’s society. It’s now become odd to not have a mass shooting news alert everyday. We aren’t shocked that this happened, we just know it’s coming. We know this because we have seen this cycle many times before with the same end result… nothing.

I know that right now politicians, celebrities, and everyday people are posting heartfelt messages talking about “thoughts and prayers,” and how we must “come together to be strong as a country.” Our President will give a speech about how this devastating event will live on in our history but will not define us. You will have politicians making cases for gun reformation, and stricter gun laws, while those on the other side criticize those politicians for “capitalizing on these horrific events.” We talk about the NRA and gun lobbyist and the control they have. If they are white we talk about the shooter in a kinder way. We talk about his past and what caused him to shoot people. We blame mental health for the situation while turning our backs on the institutions that assist people with mental illnesses. We try and find the thing that turned a “good man” bad. If they are anything but white the narrative is much crueler to them. The person will be called a terrorist, a thug, or past crimes will be used as the descriptor before the person’s name. There is never talk of mental illness, there is no search for what lead them to this. The narrative is they were a minority, a “bad man” who did a bad thing like we expected him too. If they are muslim we take it one step further and then talk about bans, how ALL Muslims are killers, and perpetuate a narrative we have made up. We argue about how to prevent this in the future and for a moment there is hope that something will change that this time it will be different. But it never is. All this continues for a couple days, week max, and we forget until the next mass shooting then the cycle repeats.

This cycle happens so frequently and systematically that I can craft you the messages and the timeline before it even happens. I know who will say what and when. I know how long the country will mourn and which states we mourn longer for. It is as if we are working off a fixed script and we just change the name of the massacre. We know this narrative all too well, and we know the end result of nothing all too well. This is the world I have grown up in. This is my reality and the reality of everyone around me. Kids today do not know a world where mass shooting is not the norm. They don’t know what it’s like to go to a movie and not see a preview in the beginning warning them about threats. They don’t know what it’s like to go to a concert and not have a moment where you scan the crowd looking for threats. These shootings and their results have become all too common and we as a society are numb. We are numb to the pain, and numb to the impact this causes. We are numb to the response and the lack of action. It is as if when we read the alert our heart goes to feel the incredible weight of this horror but our brain stops us, telling us we have seen this before and we will see it again so crying over it is useless. This is our numb reality. We would rather live numb than feel the immense pain that comes with systematic mass shootings. I am guilty of being numb. I grew up in the era of gun violence and like my fellow generation we are numb because we know tomorrow brings more pain and more of the same…

“My Thoughts and Prayers are with [INSERT CITY HERE].”

Why I Couldn’t Bring Myself to Post “Me Too” on Facebook

For me these two words hold a much deeper meaning than I thought

***TW: Sexual Assault Content***

Yesterday I went on Facebook and saw that my mother had posted the status “Me Too” with a description of why she was posting it and asking women to respond and repost if they had been survivors of sexual assault as well. I went to the comment section and right as I was about to type my hands froze. I sat staring at the screen, fingers hovering right above my keyboard, lost. In that moment everything was too real and I was scared to vocalize with the world, let alone my parents, that I too had once been a victim.

In this moment I had conflicting feelings. My whole life I had been advocating for survivors of sexual assault. I have tried to change the narrative and break stigmas around survivors. I have stood next to survivors as they told their stories. I have educated individuals on what assault looks like and the importance of consent. Yet here I was questioning my own past and ashamed to share it.

My story of assault is complex, includes many instances, and mirrors the stories of many of the woman around me. Some parts are small, some are bigger. Some parts I am comfortable sharing, some I am not. Some stories make me feel shameful, others I have worked through and now serve as a reminder of my strength as a survivor. I would also love to say that in every instance I know I am not to blame (which I know I am not) but convincing myself of that fact is a lot harder said than done.

The reality was when I was going to type “me too” on my mother’s status I couldn’t because if I had then what has happened to me is real. In your mind you can convince yourself that is didn’t happen, or brush it off like victims are socialized to do. You can push it down so far that you can almost forget it happened. You can rationalize it and say that it is just apart of life, of being a woman. If you never say it outloud then it never happened. So a part of me didn’t want to type “me too” because expressing that it happened brings it to the front, it makes it real. It makes it so I have to remember a time when men took my body from me as their own without even a second thought or remorse. It reminds me of a time where I felt weak, and broken. It reminds me that I am not the only one and the pain I have gone through has been felt by almost every woman around me.

Not only that but it tells the people around me that this has happened to me. When you see someone you love post the status “me too” your heart sinks because you know what they feel. I feel their pain in addition to my pain. It tells my parents, my siblings, my friends, that no matter how hard they tried to protect me from this it still happened. It may even shift the way that some people think about me. It opens my experiences up to people’s judgement and opinions. It gives people the opportunity to believe me, or not. Because that’s the thing people love to have an opinion on this topic. If I were to share my whole story people will pick it apart and judge me for it. Some will say that I could have just kept quiet, or that I deserved it. Some will question my validity and truth. Some will even say that I posted “me too” only for attention. On the flip side someone may judge me for feeling ashamed and not saying something earlier. Some may question my advocacy because I didn’t advocate for myself. Letting people into your world comes with a lot of baggage. These two words bring a lot with it and that reality is a lot to bare.

So I wanted to hide from my past and these statuses. To hide was, and is, my natural reaction when it comes to sexual assault. It’s easier. However, in this moment I am going to go against that. I am standing up and saying “me too.” I am making a conscious effort to stand face to face with the demons of my past and tell them they no longer control me. I am making an effort to allow myself to feel the pain and hurt of remembering my past but not letting it define me. These men and these stories do not define me. I am reclaiming my past and my experiences. I am saying I am not ashamed of what has happened to me. Me saying “me too” does not make me a lesser person, it does not make me weak, or a victim. “Me too” is my warrior’s cry to say I have been through hell and I am still here.

So here I am before you saying… me too.

 

Authors note: This statement is for me. I needed to say “me too” as part of my healing. For those of you out there whether you post “me too,” or not, is a personal choice. Your story is yours and yours alone. You are not defined by a “me too.” Know however you chose to share or not is your choice and is respected. Your stories validity is not changed whether you vocalize it or not. You’re a survivor, and I will stand with you, for you, and support you however you need. 

Why I Stand With Those Who Take a Knee

This is so much bigger than a knee and a flag

I have been grappling with my opinion on #takeaknee since the very first time Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem. To be honest I wasn’t so much grappling with my opinion on him kneeling, as I knew that I agreed with why he was doing it, but rather coming to terms with the fact that my opinion may contrast those I respect. I had a lot of people close to me who have a strong influence on my opinion disagreeing with my opinion. I believed that maybe they were seeing something that maybe I didn’t see. It is hard to have people you respect disagree with you. I didn’t want to share my opinion in fear that I would ostracize those individuals, but the reality is I am not scared anymore. If these athletes are willing to put their jobs, careers, reputations, and lives on the line then the least I can do is share my opinion and hopefully maybe change the opinions of those I respect. I know now that my gut was right and I am ashamed that it took me so long to say I stand with Colin Kaepernick and all those who kneel in solidarity and let me explain why.

Like with many issues in America we like to simplify it. Why? Because we don’t like messy issues. We don’t like things that are so real and complicated that we can’t form a clear answer. Therefore we simplify things to right and wrong, stand or sit, support your soldiers or BLM. We don’t like the grey area in the middle where reality actually lives. It has become clear to me when looking at my social media that this is where we have come to, but in reality this is far bigger than a flag and a knee. This issue has to do with what our country was built on and represents.

America prides itself on the 1st amendment and its freedom of speech. However over the course of time what this freedom looks like has evolved. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” We have come to believe that freedom of speech is the right to say whatever you want whenever you want to say it, and the reality is that is not what the original intent was. The 1st amendment was specifically designed to give Americans the right to criticize their government without fear of prosecution. Why? Because we had just come from England where this freedom was not a reality for many people. It was so important to our founding father that individuals have the right to speak freely about government and their country that THEY MADE IT THE FIRST LAW IN AMERICA! Think about the magnitude of that fact.

As we have continued through time people have used this amendment as an excuse to harass and degrade people while proudly sticking up their nose and yelling “1st amendment this is my right!” While these individuals are not necessarily wrong they aren’t at the very core right. You know who is right? The individuals who take a knee against our government and system that is constantly oppressing them. This is what the 1st amendment was designed to protect all those years ago. If our founding fathers wanted this as our cornerstone law then there is nothing more American than honoring that law.

People have then said that these individuals who kneel are blatantly disrespecting the men and women who fought for this country and lost their lives so that they could have the right to kneel. For those people I tell you that you are missing the point of this kneel and the answer youre looking for is in the previous line. These soldiers fought so that they had the freedom to kneel. Whether they agree or not soldiers fight for our constitutional rights and as stated above kneeling is apart of that. In addition, this argument to me is a distraction from the real issue. These individuals aren’t protesting our soldiers, and their intent is not to disrespect them or those who have lost their lives. Imagine having your movement so misunderstood that people are mad about something that you aren’t protesting while they turn a blind eye to the real issue. If you can’t see the difference between a flag and troops then you shouldn’t be able to see the difference between our country and the hatred that is in it right now. Kneeling doesn’t mean you hate troops or disrespect their sacrifice. Kneeling means that you are trying to make their sacrifices worth it. So that when they fight for this country it is for everyone.

This issue is not simple. The reality is these individuals are protesting because our country is broken. It is not safe to be in this country if you are a minority. Black men, women, transgender, and nonbinary individuals are dying everyday. Racism, sexism, anti semitism, islamophobia, homophobia is at an all time high and everyone is just trying to find a way to speak up and speak out. If I had a platform that had millions of people looking I too would utilize that to shine light on an important issue. If you can’t see that or understand why they are kneeling then I encourage you to do the research. Don’t be passive and don’t let it be simple. Stand up for those who take a knee.

The Glaring Problem With OSU’s President’s Letter on Charlottesville

This past week Oregon State University’s President Ed Ray released a statement condemning the violent and hateful acts in Charlottesville “in the strongest terms.” He even went as far as to do what our own President hasn’t done and denounce white supremacy, the KKK, Nazi’s and the values that they stand for. President Ray then goes on to talk about how we must come together and “guarantee inclusivity and safety for all.” This letter was to serve as a comfort to the OSU community and remind them of the inclusive values this sanctuary campus has. There is just one glaring problem with this letter… it is hypocritical. The hypocrisy lies in the fact that President Ed Ray is condemning hatred and racism in one area of the country but allowing it on his own campus.  

 

Although Oregon considers itself a “blue” state, it’s history is filled with racism–even Oregon State University is not immune from this history. For example, Linus Pauling, an Oregon State icon, believed heavily in eugenics until the late 1970’s. Now, many people have defended Pauling’s intentions by saying they were merely rooted in his desire to prevent the spread of genetic diseases. Regardless, this is apart of his history and in some ways OSU’s history. This however was not the first example that popped into my mind, but rather an example that is more similar to Charlottesville than you would think.

 

The Charlottesville’s story begins with a group of individuals trying to take down the Robert E. Lee statue located in the city. The protests on both sides are rooted in conflict about this racist statue. We at OSU have a very similar racist “statue.” However, our statue is much bigger and much less conspicuous.

 

If you attended OSU and lived on campus, there is a high chance you have eaten at Arnold Dining Hall. The dining hall is named after Benjamin Lee Arnold a former Oregon State University President… and a confederate soldier from Virginia. Now regardless of what Arnold did for this University, his beginnings cannot be forgotten. We cannot pretend like serving in the Confederate Army is not a big deal. Some would even argue that his 3 months service is barely anything, but the reality is he served in an Army that defended slavery. Now although a dining hall is not a statue for all to be seen, think about the pain both inflict on people of color (POC). Students who identify as a person of color have to eat in a building named after someone who believed their ancestors were less than human and should have stayed slaves. Yet, we as a university have turned our backs on this problem and hide behind the email messages that proclaim we are a “progressive” campus.

 

At the end of the day, I thank President Ray for what he has said in this letter and done in the past for OSU. It is not always easy to be a government employee and rebel against the President of the United Stated and Ray has done that unapologetically since January. He has pushed for OSU and Corvallis to become a sanctuary campus and city, and pushed back against the Trump administration’s stance on Charlottesville. However, the reality is with Arnold Hall present on campus, it is hard to believe the narrative that we are inclusive and safe for all.

 

If we want to be the progressive school that we pride ourselves on being, then we must take our own advice and “guarantee inclusivity and safety for all.” Just because the cameras and attention is not on us does not mean we get to hide from what we are ignoring, and therefore promoting. When we have these names on campus we are telling our students of color that their pain isn’t valid, and that honoring our university’s history is more important.  I understand that we can’t change our history, but we can promise to not honor the hatred and racism that plagues it. We must change the name of Arnold Hall, it’s that simple. We must learn from Charlottesville and remove the hatred. Now some may argue that the cost of a name change to Arnold Hall would be too great and the repercussions would harm students. I would then quickly remind these people that OSU spent over $100,000 to change a logo that didn’t offend anyone. Then they would argue that it was a marketing strategy to attract more students. To which I would reply that students aren’t going to care about a new logo while OSU ignores the needs of their students of color. The reality is that OSU spends money on things they find important, and it’s time changing Arnold Hall’s name be added to that list.

 

So President Ed Ray I applaud you for your words and your actions in the past, but I remind your that we cannot rely on our past actions to justify our current inaction.

 

This article is dedicated to all the brave souls lost in Charlottesville. May they rest in peace.

 

Sources:

 

I Have Failed You As An Ally and I Am Sorry

I have spent the last two months in a bubble separated from the outside world. My lack of internet and real world connection has kept me shielded from the horror that lives outside my camp walls. I could easily turn a blind eye to the news updates on my phone and pretend like I didn’t know. My situation gave me an inch and I took a mile. I blamed my absence on my busy schedule, dealing with my personal problems, and my ability to convince myself there was no way I could help from isolation. These reasons are nothing more than an excuse.

When Charlottesville happened I should have been on the phone reaching out to my friends, sending my support to the POC communities, and denouncing the hate. I should have been reading articles and informing myself on what was happening. I should have been the ally that I pride myself on being. Instead I ignored the news, I pretended like I didn’t have time or internet while I lay in my bed on Facebook. I took my excuse and my privilege and I sat back.

I would love to say this was the first time that I have made this excuse and have sat back but it’s not. I have failed my friends, my family, and my community. I am the very activist that I hate. I have become the kind of activist that only cares when the eyes are on her, or when it is easy. I spent my summer talking to people about what it means to be an ally, while I hypocritically kept quiet when the opportunity to do something presented itself. I felt offended when I was called out on Facebook for my lack of action by trying to bring up my past actions. The reality is it doesn’t matter what I have done in the past if I am not doing anything now. The people who called me out on Facebook were totally right and justified in their anger. I told them I would be there for them and when they needed me I was nowhere to be found. I brushed Charlottesville off as someone else’s problem when in reality these people were protesting not only POC, but me and my identity.

Nothing embodies my privilege, or reminds me of my privilege, like Charlottesville. These white supremacists are modern day Nazi’s who’s hatred of Jews acompanies their hatred for POC. The Nazi salute was presented for all to see. Posters bared swastikas and hate speech about Jews. My people were, and are, under attack. I am under attack. However because what they hate about me is not written across my skin I get to be safe, and I can hide in that safety. People don’t know if I am Jewish unless I want them to know, and that keeps me safe. I have that privilege of secrecy that can be hidden by my privileged white skin. My skin gives me a position of privilege and power that I can use to help my fellow humans in pain, but rather I sat and stayed quiet as they suffered.

From the bottom of my heart I apologize to my friends of color. I apologize for not being there for you. I apologize for not supporting you in the way I promised you I would. I apologize for making you feel unloved or unvalued by the very people who you trusted. I apologize for being another white person who let you down. I am sorry that I didn’t stand beside you like I know I should have. I apologize for not standing up and saying something, or better yet not passing the platform to you and giving you the space to share. I will not make anymore excuses for my absence, but rather say I am sorry.

I make this promise to you as my declaration that I will not be passive anymore. I will not be an activist who only cares when it is easy. I will not pretend like this doesn’t affect me. I will make sure you are supported in whatever way you need. I will use both my words and my actions to protest, and eradicate hatred. I will stop hiding behind my privilege and pretending like I am safe in it. I will continually ask myself the question “What would I have done during ______?” because here is the answer. I will rebel with you as my leader.

I will denounce these terrorists who threaten the lives of my fellow humans. I will call them terrorists, nazi’s, and white supremacists because that is what they are. I will stand up against the hatred, ignorance, and violence in Charlottesville. I promise that I will not let these people’s voices be the loudest voices in the room and make sure that their opinions do not speak for the majority.