Let me start off by saying it takes a lot of courage and a lot of heart to publicly share our stories of sexual harassment and assault, detailed or not. We’ve been taught to take things in stride and not to rock the boat, and I’m proud of and thankful to everyone who is stepping up to talk about sexual assault.
I’d also like to say that obviously not every man is an assailant, and women aren’t the only ones who deal with sexual assault, abuse, and harassment. This is a human issue, and while it isn’t specific to certain genders, there is an overwhelming number of women who have experienced sexual aggression from men.
Again, not every man is harassing women, not every form of harassment is towards women.We’re seeing an outcry, and hopefully everyone’s uncomfortable in their shiny new realization that maybe, just maybe, we have a serious problem. Maybe this discourse and visibility will bring us to an enlightened place, free (well, free-er) of sexual assault being accepted and blown over.
Maybe. But I’m not convinced.
Harvey Weinstein isn’t operating in a vacuum. He wasn’t the first horrible person to take advantage of his position, and won’t be the last. This was yet another example of someone in a position of power taking advantage of those who are not. This is yet another example of people scrambling to cover their own asses, instead of apologize or provide support to, or even acknowledge the victims. This is yet another example of supporting players who assisted, colluded, or covered up the actions of a violent abuser for years, so he could continue assaulting women, just because they wanted to share in his power or good graces, or, I don’t know, money.
And people say they are somehow surprised by this behavior.
It isn’t like this is the first time people have repeatedly taken advantage of women in the workplace for years at a time. We reacted to Bill Cosby’s years of drugging and raping young women, and we all took to social media, proving to the world that sexual harassment is a universal experience women deal with. Because it is.
But Cosby still hasn’t been convicted. Nope. Instead, his court date has been pushed back to 2018 after a mistrial. Not only that, but now the Ex-DA is suing one of the allegedly abused women because he fucking blames her for his lost election.And yes, #MeToo. #YesAllWomen. We’ve all experienced the misogyny that plagues the workplace, our walk home, our childhood schools. But we’ve gone through a full loop again, and I’m not sure anything has really changed.
Everyone can say they’re outraged that (surprise) the piece of shit Harvey Weinstein doesn’t seem genuinely sorry. “Boohoo, I grew up in the 60s” is not an excuse, but who honestly believed he would have an excuse? He got away with this for years. He’s not sorry. He knew what he was doing was wrong, and “getting help” was an option to him the whole time he was doing it.
And I think this is the problem: people act like they’re surprised every time this happens. Or worse, they sit there stumped, asking why didn’t these women come forward sooner?
Meanwhile, whenever there is a reported allegation of rape or sexual assault in the news, someone will ask whether or not we can “trust the source,” and it’s a shame that they’re willing to throw the alleged perpetrator’s future down the drain.
Brock Turner’s judge went easy on him because he considered full conviction a “hardship.” Instead of the full sentence of up to 14 years for his three convictions, the judge gave him 6 months in jail. 6 fucking months. Any longer would have a “severe impact” on his future. What a tragedy for him.
Oh, but don’t worry, kids. He only served three months.
Each of these stories were big news. Each time, people were shocked and appalled. Each time, we took to social media and shared our shock and appall, and our own stories of assault, and maybe we healed a little bit. But here we are, round who-knows-what-number, and it’s the same shit all over again.
Harvey Weinstein is sorry. Guys, he’s “trying to do better,” and “so [respects] all women and [regrets] what happened.” And look at him go – he’s “been trying to do this for 10 years and this is a wake-up call.” Finally! A wake up call for his abhorrent behavior!
Wow. Forgive me for thinking he’s not the changed man he claims to be. Donating $5,000,000 to give scholarships to women isn’t a sign that he’s suddenly able to respect women as fellow human beings.
Just like your friend’s hashtag showing support doesn’t prove they’ve changed their minds about sexual assault.
It’s suddenly the “cool thing” right now to care and show support, and pretend that we’ve all changed and grown. Meanwhile, we’re seeing our assailants “like” the statuses that we wrote about them so they can pat themselves on the back and save face. We’re being told to post the #MeToo to share our stories and foster awareness, but don’t name names because it’ll ruin his life. And of course, who could forget #NotAllMen.
And yes, we’re seeing the #IHave’s and the #HowWillIChange’s. Now the world is stepping up, in the form of hashtags, to pledge to be different.
Great. Prove it. Show me women coming forward and not being blackballed by their industry. Show me powerful people being ostracized immediately when there’s evidence of sexual assault. Show me more proud feminist men tangibly showing their support to women who have been wronged in their industries. Show me a world where people don’t feel comfortable publicly siding with alleged rapists and perpetrators of sexual assault, or electing them into office.
Until then, these annual hashtag storms – “shocking” us into believing there’s a problem, only so we can forget about it again – just show me we aren’t changing a damn thing.