How #MeToo exploded after the Weinstein Scandal
It has been brewing for a long while, may be for a hundred of years, the steam kept condensing as it would in a pressure cooker; till it finally exploded. It had to, sooner or later
For decades, women have been sexually harassed, and when they complained it was always their fault, they asked for it, or they dressed for it or they put enough make up for it. It was never the fault of the assailant or attacker as if women passively were part of this or caused it.
The real perpetrator is rarely addressed or even blamed. College female students raped over and over by College athletes just to be ignored, cleared or hardly have their hand slapped. NCAA Remains Quiet as Athlete Sexual Assault Cases Continue
Females have been shamed through the process and sometimes throughout their lives. In certain cultures when a woman is rapped she gets executed as if it was her fault alone
Silencing women has been one more weapon to intimidate them. Human beings are all about dignity, when you take their dignity away, sooner or later they will regain it by force, even if they had to die for it (not being completely dramatic here)
So a week or so ago, finally one of the biggest sharks in the entertainment business "Harvey Weinstein" went down in flames, a scandal broke out about Harvey Weinstein sexually harassing, sexually assaulting and reportedly raping women that were either in the acting field or trying to break in the acting field. Some are still coming forward it has been a like a domino’s effect
What surprises me is how everyone has been acting shocked though it sounds like it was the best known kept secret in Hollywood, men around him including his brother knew what was happening and enabled the behavior.
Some women that were affected let it happen because they wanted to become famous but now are coming out against it, some were in fear to talk, and some felt violated
Women’s sexual harassment or assault is not new, it has been happening forever. Only two days ago it took a new turn, with the #MeToo campaign that went viral. It is increasing the public awareness on women harassment and sexual assault- not creating a new one - it is a very well-known fact at least to women being harassed or assaulted every single day.
Alyssa Milano tweeted #MeToo to attract attention to the immensity of the fact that women and girls are sexually harassed, sexually attacked and raped
It blew out, it was retweeted millions of times, and all of a sudden it took a life on its own. Because all of a sudden it empowered the victims and gave them a safe environment to come out and share their story, it became viral. It showed the victims that "it is not their fault", that they were not alone, and that it was perfectly fine to admit publicly that they were violated. It was their unshackling and sense of liberation.
It is all but a common story we have seen everywhere especially in Hollywood:
Roger Ailes of Fox News sexually harassing women,
OReilly of Fox news,
Bill Cosby drugging and sexually assaulting women- hasn’t been indicted (at least not yet),
Roy Price of Amazon accused of lewd comments,
Casey Affleck sexually harassing a co-worker; and his brother Ben Affleck not only campaign for him to get an Oscar but never apologizing for his predator behavior, being accused if himself of alleged sexual misconduct,
L.A. Reid accused of sexual harassment,
The famous story of “Roman Polinsky”,
Mike Tyson – rape,
Travis Kalanick of Uber, not personally implicated in sexual harassment allegations but was blamed by former employees for creating a culture that allowed it to happen,
Anthony Weiner- ex-senator
And the list goes on
All of a sudden, people are noticing more that women around them, declared that they have been sexually molested or attacked or even raped – that is more common than they ever thought
How long will the #MeToo campaign survive till it gets muffled, die, or continue gaining steam– really depends on "US" Women to keep it alive and never let anyone forget it
I totally understand the shame that can come with being physically violated, the need to become invisible and always feeling that somehow it is our mistake, sometimes we feel we brought it on yourself, somehow we caused it to happen even if we were a 100% a victim. In some far small villages and even some countries if a women is rapped she can get the death penalty because she somehow caused it but her assailant will not suffer the same consequences
In certain parts of the world they have “Marry-Your-Rapist Laws” – where if the rapist marries its victim they are not legally prosecuted- as in the Middle East it helps protect the honor of the families, but it also exists in the Philippines where there is still a loophole in the law, it was in effect till 2006 in Uruguay and even in France till 1994 as reported by the New York Times
Some countries are currently trying to repeal this law, what is really sad is that some countries look at rape as a moral issue and not a violence issue
“ About 35% of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence , according to the World Health Organization. One in 10 girls, or 120 million children worldwide, have experienced “forced intercourse or forced sexual acts” at some point in their lives.” As per the Guardian
So it is not a “Hollywood Story” it is a women story it is a human race story that has been happening since the beginning of time
If a wife comes home catching her husband in bed with another women, being violated emotionally maybe not physically raped but all the same, she gets prosecuted but if a man finds his wife in the same situation he gets exonerated because he was defending his honor- still happening in a lot of countries
We still live in a world where some women are sexually mutilated so they don’t get to enjoy physical pleasure, or where women have to hide their faces so they won’t be reason why men can get excited
Why women do not come forward is that they feel they have been violated once and if they come forward they feel they have to go through a whole new process of violation, this time public, in front of everyone.
Today at the age of Social Media where cyberbullying is becoming a norm, they will become attacked, shamed, and dragged through the mud. They will have support but they will suffer a new set of humiliation.
Some men do not understand that “NO” means NO. Some men in position of power, use that power to victimize women and know that they will not come forward, because they either need the work, and money, or they will be too humiliated to come forward.
As long as "US" Women stay silent about sexual harassment or sexual assault- “SILENCE IS A FORM OF SILENCE”, and as long as it an act portrayed as happening to women in a passive kind of a way, without actually bringing the perpetrators into the discussion it will not be solved, it will continue to fester
For every harassed or assaulted girl or woman there is a boy or a man that harassed or assaulted them, we need to reverse the way we are having this conversation, until we dissect the root, we will just be dealing with the symptoms and it will never ever go away, we will have sporadic campaigns as “ #MeToo ” – that I totally stand behind and salute – that will come and might go. We will remember it again only when it happens again
Parents talk to their daughters on how to protect themselves but rarely talk to their sons on how not to become a perpetrator or a predator, on how to respect the girls and women in their lives, that they need to shut down the sexual jokes, the derogatory comments to become part of the accepted or in crowd of their friends
It is the job and responsibility of each one of us, we all have a role in minimizing and eventually erasing the inequality and violence that exists towards women, in eradicating sexual harassment and assault, there is no shame to report it. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
Speak up, find your voice, write your representative to change the laws, be an active participants in your children’s schools education.
The rapists, sexual predators and perpetrators are terrorists in their own category, they terrorize the lives of women they harass, assault or attack, sometimes for the rest of their lives. When a child is sexually molested or assaulted they carry it throughout their lives and can destroy their whole life in so many ways.
So I say: I stand with #MeToo .
To those women that have power and can reach more women: Use your voice, your social media, your blog to reach out to other women, to educate them that sexual harassment and sexual assault are not acceptable, it is not OK, it takes one voice, just one voice to let others feel comfortable to come forward, be that voice, be that light that brings justice
I realize that it is not only women that are subjected to sexual harassment and assault, but the rates are staggering.
Again silence is a form of violence, it will take all of us, to change the wrong and turn it to right, we can’t dust it off because if it didn’t happen to us personally, when it happens to one girl or one woman it happened to all of us, one girl or one woman harassed or assaulted is one too many
Men need to be involved as well. Men, these women are your sisters, mothers, aunts, cousins, daughters, wives, best friends. Where I come from, they say "One hand alone can’t clap", we need all of our voices to rise for equality, for dignity, for honor and mainly for respect
If we look around us in the world no matter how long the darkness persists, the day light will always break in, we have seen it throughout history
Let us start TODAY, right NOW!
If you have any comments, any ideas please share them. Just add #MeToo either you went through it or just support those that went through it
Diversity starts at home,
Diversity starts at home,
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Sahar Andrade, MB.BCh
Diversity, Inclusion, and Leadership Consultant- Certified Social Media Strategist
Sahar Consulting, LLC
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