After the first whistle she may have rightly assumed he was simply calling a dog. By the second, though, she was positive it was aimed in her direction. She had almost walked past the sniggering of him and his 'bros' when the third whistle passed through his lips. Plucking up the courage that no man will ever understand, my fiancÃ©e stopped in her tracks, turned on the spot, looked him dead in the eye and said simply 'don't do that'.
To my beautiful fiancÃ©e, and all other women created in the image of my father in heaven:
My name is Sam Rillstone, I am 24, I am a man and I am a builder. I am writing this letter to apologise on behalf of builders, though not just builders; tradesmen, though not just tradesmen; Men.
We acknowledge that, since the dawn of our understanding, we have used our strength and power to hold people of your gender under a forcefully submissive and oppressive state.
We are sorry that it has taken thousands of years for you to be granted the right to an education that would be equal to ours, the right to a vote that would be equal to ours, the right to a vocation that would be equal to ours and the right to any personal expression that would be equal to the way we are enabled to express ourselves and our convictions.
We admit that we have been narcissistic by nature in assuming that we have more to offer this world than you. Oh how so very wrong we have been. We beg for the forgiveness of both you and your creator. We know we cannot simply stop there.
We understand that thousands of years of oppressive culture cannot be restored to how our loving God intended when he breathed us into life in a moment of repentance. We know it is not enough to just offer you the rights we have been given from the birth of our ancestors so many centuries ago.
We can do more than that, and we will. We want to use any power we have to lift you up out of oppression. We are choosing to put you before ourselves. Not because we believe we are any better than you but because we understand that a mind-set which has been enforced for generations, does not disappear without our intentions being realised through a submission of such power in all areas of our culture and individualism.
So we plead with you to lead alongside us, in our marriages, in our institutions, in our churches and in our governments. We men stand alongside you and pray that you do not feel alone as your fight for the justice of women continues to spread throughout our world. We are excited for the day that justice is realised. We only wish it comes sooner; that it came sooner. Maybe if it had we would be living in a world far closer to the kingdom that God promises us.
We know God has such great plans for you: plans to uplift others who have been held under a system of oppression as you have, to fight for justice in a non-violent and gentle way that sees equality restored for all of God's children. For we finally understand 'there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.' (Galatians chapter 3, verse 28).
Please pray for us, and continue to challenge us. We are sure to make mistakes. We may momentarily lose the courage to stand up for you when our brothers fall short of displaying the respect you deserve. But please don't give up on us. Don't leave us out of this struggle. Our world needs you to be all that you can be.
We love you, just as we love ourselves.
Sam is currently living in Auckland, New Zealand working as a carpenter while starting up his own social enterprise to assist refugees into employment.
His previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/sam-rillstone.html