When the Harvard men's soccer team went low, the women's team went high.

Former members of the Harvard women's soccer team reunited to write a powerful, heartbreaking opinion piece they should never have had to write.

The op-ed was written in response to The Harvard Crimson's recent story about the men's soccer team's "scouting report," a publicly searchable guide written and maintained by the 2012 Harvard men's soccer recruiting class detailing and rating members of the 2012 women's soccer recruiting class.

The document included the women's physical attributes, crude nicknames, and guesses as to their preferred sexual positions. While the disgusting digital tradition appeared to begin in 2012, conversations continued well into this year.


Within days of the newspaper revealing the abhorrent practice, the university cancelled the remainder of the men's season (two games) and any post-season play.

But that's not exactly a "victory" for Harvard women's soccer. Soon, former women's team members were inundated by the press, their comments taken and spun out of context. Their lives were disrupted through no fault of their own. And for current players, the scandal overshadowed what would soon be a championship season.

Tired of outlets misrepresenting them, their team, and their school, the six members of the 2012 women's soccer recruiting class wrote an opinion piece for The Harvard Crimson.

Brooke Dickens, Kelsey Clayman, Alika Keene, Emily Mosbacher, Lauren Varela, and Haley Washburn, now Harvard alumni, came together to tell their side of the story in a piece titled "Stronger Together."  In doing so, their voices carried for the millions of women who don't often get that chance.

"In all, we do not pity ourselves, nor do we ache most because of the personal nature of this attack. More than anything, we are frustrated that this is a reality that all women have faced in the past and will continue to face throughout their lives."

A woman holds a placard during the fifth annual SlutWalk in Hong Kong  to protest against sexual violence, victim-blaming, and rape culture. Photo by Dale De La Rey/AFP/Getty Images.

While the women bravely shared feelings of hopelessness, concern, and frustration, strength and hope were on display too.

Being a target of misogyny of this magnitude would hurt and devastate anyone, but as athletes and young women, they are accustomed to getting back up in the wake of defeat.

"We know what it’s like to get knocked down. To lose a few battles. To sweat, to cry, to bleed. To fight so hard, yet no matter what we do, the game is still out of our hands. And, even still, we keep fighting; for ourselves, yes, but above all for our teammates. This document might have stung any other group of women you chose to target, but not us. We know as teammates that we rise to the occasion, that we are stronger together, and that we will not tolerate anything less than respect for women that we care for more than ourselves."

They're banding together now, not just as athletes or Harvard alumni, but as women.

Incidents like these are not confined to the locker room or college campus: They're everywhere. But women, athletes or otherwise, are stronger when they come together to speak out against sexual mistreatment. All of us, not just women but men too, need to come together to treat everyone with dignity and respect.

"As women of Harvard Soccer and of the world, we want to take this experience as an opportunity to encourage our fellow women to band together in combatting this type of behavior, because we are a team and we are stronger when we are united.

Women march behind a banner for an International Women's Day march in downtown Los Angeles. Photo by Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images.

From locker rooms to boardrooms, from the warehouse to the White House, the Harvard women's soccer team is right: We need to come together to stand up to misogyny.

Misogyny is not cute, funny, or harmless. It's cruel. It's devastating. And from micro-aggressions to sexual assault, sexism is creating and perpetuating a culture of rape and violence against women.

To put an end to it, we need men and boys to recognize in no uncertain terms that women's bodies and minds do not belong to them. Whatsoever. Full stop.

Students hold signs  as they shout slogans against a recent rape that took place in New Delhi in 2012. Photo by Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images.

"We are human beings and we should be treated with dignity. We want your help in combatting this. We need your help in preventing this. We cannot change the past, but we are asking you to help us now and in the future."

We need women to continue taking the brave step to get support and/or report their attackers in the wake of emotional, physical, and sexual violence, too. You and your voice are important. Know there are people nearby and around the globe who will stand with you and support you.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images.

Together, all of us can make a difference for each other and generations to come. And it can start today.

More

I'm staring at my screen watching the President of the United States speak before a stadium full of people in North Carolina. He launches into a lie-laced attack on Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Send her back! Send her back! Send her back!"

The President does nothing. Says nothing. He just stands there and waits for the crowd to finish their outburst.

WATCH: Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after he criticizes Rep. Ilhan Omar www.youtube.com

My mind flashes to another President of the United States speaking to a stadium full of people in North Carolina in 2016. A heckler in the crowd—an old man in uniform holding up a TRUMP sign—starts shouting, disrupting the speech. The crowd boos. Soon they start chanting, "Hillary! Hillary! Hillary!"

Keep Reading Show less
Recommended
via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

Policing women's bodies — and by consequence their clothes — is nothing new to women across the globe. But this mother's "legging problem" is particularly ridiculous.

What someone wears, regardless of gender, is a personal choice. Sadly, many folks like Maryann White, mother of four sons, think women's attire — particularly women's leggings are a threat to men.

While sitting in mass at the University of Notre Dame, White was aghast by the spandex attire the young women in front of her were sporting.

Keep Reading Show less
More

Men are sharing examples of how they step up and step in when they see problematic behaviors in their peers, and people are here for it.

Twitter user "feminist next door" posed an inquiry to her followers, asking "good guys" to share times they saw misogyny or predatory behavior and did something about it. "What did you say," she asked. "What are your suggestions for the other other men in this situation?" She added a perfectly fitting hashtag: #NotCoolMan.

Not only did the good guys show up for the thread, but their stories show how men can interrupt situations when they see women being mistreated and help put a stop to it.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture