In front of a sold-out crowd of 2,800 people in Hartford, Connecticut on Thursday night, Michelle Obama urged men to not stand idly by as women speak out against sexual misconduct.
“If we want young women to be strong and have voices and advocate for themselves, then we have to realize how much work we have to do,” Obama said, according to People. “And I’m talking to the men out there, who cannot be innocent bystanders and complacent…watching this happen.”
“I can’t tell you how sick it makes me,” she said. “The more I see the uncovering of the truth that all us women know has been out there, that there is an ugliness there.”
The former First Lady shared with the audience how she considers herself lucky to have grown up around men who treated her well.
“I got a lot of positive messages all around me, and as a young girl I had strong men in my life who never abused me, physically, emotionally,” she said, according to the Hartford Courant.“I felt the real genuine, trustful love of men in my life, from my father to my uncles to my grandfather on down.”
However, Obama acknowledged that her upbringing shouldn’t be regarded as something out of the norm. It should be the standard.
“It shouldn’t be something I even would have to mention,” she said. “But when 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…it is such a sad, common existence for women and girls in this country. I was one of the lucky ones. I am what it looks like when a girl is loved and nurtured and invested [in.]”
Obama then reiterated comments she made in a speech earlier this month, in which she asked the attendees to practice self-restraint on social media and to be good to one another.
“Focus on what you can control,” she said. “Be a good person every day. Vote. Read. Treat one another kindly. Follow the law. Don’t tweet nasty stuff.”