Michelle Obama is sick of men being ‘innocent bystanders’ of sexual abuse

‘I can’t tell you how sick it makes me’

The past couple of months has seen a bigger conversation on harassment, misconduct and abuse – particularly in the workplace.

Prompted by the emergence of the Harvey Weinstein allegations, women have come forward in all industries to speak out, stand in solidarity and share their own experiences of misconduct, with the Me Too hashtag trending online.

Last week saw Hollywood royalty Meryl Streep opening up about her experiences of physical violence, and Angelina Jolie addressed sexual violence at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Conference.

In fact, it seems as though new allegations and horrific first-person accounts are emerging each day, and if like us it makes you sick to your stomach, you’re not alone.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama spoke at a sell-out speech event in Connecticut this week, delivering a powerful message to women and calling for men to stop being ‘bystanders’ of such abuse.

‘I can’t tell you how sick it makes me,’ she explained to the crowd. ‘The more I see the uncovering of the truth that all us women know has been out there, that there is an ugliness there.’

She continued: ‘If we want young women to be strong and have voices and advocate for themselves, then we have to realise how much work we have to do.’

Going on to address the men in the audience, she announced, ‘And I’m talking to the men out there, who cannot be innocent bystanders and complacent, watching this happen.

‘We live in a world where young girls are literally in danger of some kind of mess, whether it’s what a man says to us, or how he looks at us, or an opportunity that is taken from us, or somebody who’s got our foot on our necks,’ she concluded her speech. ‘It is such a sad, common existence for women and girls in this country.’

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