The #MeToo movement has failed women… and men
It’s been over a year since headlines first splashed the news of Harvey Weinstein and the dozens of women he’s accused of attacking and abusing, and sadly, not much has happened or changed.
Yes, women feel more confident to speak out about their personal experiences and many entrenched abusers have been exposed, but has anything really changed? Are women any better off before the hashtag, before Tarana Burke first coined the phrase MeToo back in 2006?
Sure Bill O’Reilly, Matt Lauer, Les Moonves and dozens of others have lost their jobs, but the only person to date to be punished for his crimes in a court of law is America’s disgraced father, Bill Cosby.
And there’s a whiplash effect too. Although the incidence of women making false accusations is statistically low, there is a growing belief that every woman, no matter the circumstances, should be believed. So jurisprudence has been tossed out the window with a rush to believe anyone who makes a claim. This may be perfectly acceptable to you as long as it’s in favor of your position, but what happens when a false accusation is leveled against your husband, brother, father, uncle, or son? Will you be so quick to judge?
The movement has provided a much needed outlet for expression and sharing of experience, but still requires looking to outsiders, either the government, the organization you work for, the principal of a school, or co-workers to protect a woman.
Let me be very clear before the fangs come out, I do not, under any circumstance, believe sexual abuse or attack of any type is acceptable. Period. Don’t even go there with me.
I don’t believe you can legislate a man out of making sexual innuendos or flirting. It’s just not possible. I also don’t think it’s healthy to put men at such a disadvantage that if they look at you the wrong way, or accidentally touch your butt as they’re carry a bulky box passed to you is reason for accusation and condemnation.
I’m smarter than that and this is the time for sensible and responsible actions.
I live and play in a man’s world and I hear sexual innuendos and comments all the time. It’s really boring, but you can’t stop idiots from being idiots. I let that stuff slide unless it’s directed at me. If you are triggered or offended by such immature behavior, it says a whole lot more about you than the other person.
No one has ever died from hurt feelings.
What I can do, and what I wish more women would do is take personal responsibility for their responses, or lack thereof. I like swift and immediate reaction. You know, when your boss puts his hand on your thigh and you calmly grab two of those fingers and slowly bend them backwards, all while smiling brightly in his face, watching him squirm.
Or when you’re at a party and you go to the kitchen to get something and the hostess’ husband follows you in there and grabs your butt while you’re bending over in the refrigerator. It’s always fun to watch him try to explain how he got a whole pie splattered in his face.
The problem is that women don’t want anybody to be upset with them. They don’t want to make a fuss. What they are really saying is that don’t want to take responsibility for what’s happening to their bodies — they want someone else to do that, and that is why women are still victims. It won’t be until we make our own safety a priority that we will truly be free.
I’m a martial artist. I’ve been training for a dozen years and have black belts in three arts. The only time I have ever been in a situation where my safety was in jeopardy was when I was 15. I was at my boyfriend’s house and we were sitting on the bed. His older brother came in and they were horsing around. They jumped on me and tried to pin me down. I thrashed and kicked and knocked a shelf off the wall and got the hell out of there.
Did I report it? There was nothing to report.
I don’t put myself in situations that even I, with my training, don’t feel comfortable in. I don’t whine and say it’s not fair, I should be able to get drunk at a frat party and not have some drunk guy grope me. It’s not worth my safety. Should it happen? Of course not, but I’m not going to be the one to test that theory.
I don’t walk down certain streets alone at night and I avoid gas stations and convenience stores at night if I can help it, I just won’t push it. I don’t go to establishments I’m not familiar with and if I see a drunk or dangerous looking person approach me, I make a plan for my personal safety.
It doesn’t take years of training to make sure you’re safe — it takes common sense.
But it’s not fair, you demand. No, it’s not. But I am responsible for my safety and well being, not anyone else. I will do whatever is necessary to keep myself safe.
Fairness and equality don’t always exist. I like to do whatever I can to tip the scales in my favor, and if that means having to make a decision about my actions I believe will keep me safe, I’m good with that.
As long as you expect someone else to keep you safe or give you equality, you will always be a victim.