In 2017, the #MeToo movement saw thousands of women come forward with their stories about sexual harassment and assault. It was an amazing moment in time that inspired such hope for the future, which, there is good reason to believe, will be safer for everyone.
Ensuring that better future is a responsibility that falls largely into the hands of parents, but we’re up to the task—and David Schwimmer is, too.
The former Friends star is doing his part by co-producing a series of PSAs called “That’s Harassment,” which depict real incidents of unwelcome sexual advances and harassment. (The project actually began before the #MeToo movement took root in October.)
In addition to helping spread the message about what isn’t acceptable behavior among adults, Schwimmer is also teaching his daughter, 6-year-old Cleo, how to stand up for herself.
“With my daughter, it’s more about just knowing it’s your body and your space,” Schwimmer says in an new interview for Megyn Kelly TODAY. “It’s more about personal space and building confidence in her to speak out and speak up if anything she encounters makes her feel uncomfortable, period.”
This means that she—and she alone—is in charge of her body. As Schwimmer adds, “Her body, her hair, it’s hers. She owns it. It’s giving her the courage and confidence to speak up and speak out.”
As difficult as those conversations may be with young children, they are essential. And the sooner we teach girls and boys what’s right and wrong, the more progress we’ll make.
“She just told me last night that at school on Friday, some boys behind her, some older boys, were kind of touching and kicking her back a little. She turned around and gave them a look,” says Schwimmer. “I said, ‘Next time, Cleo, you need to turn around and firmly but politely say to please stop touching me. If you do that twice and they keep on touching you, you stand up, walk away and find a grownup, period.' It’s important to instill that kind of confidence from an early age.”
Educating our children on their bodies also helps empower them—both in standing up for themselves and in feeling self-confidence. Adds Schwimmer, “There should be, in my view, no shame about her body and about being in her body and understanding how her body works.”
The more people we involve in these conversations, the better off we’ll all be. So thanks to Schwimmer for doing his part—both as an educator and a parent.