NOTE – This is a polarizing topic. Before you click that unlike/unfollow button hear me out and let’s start a dialog. It is only through understanding that we achieve enlightenment. The next post won’t be so controversial.
I recently saw an episode of Ellen featuring Tom Hanks and Merle Streep promoting their new movie, The Post. This interview aired shortly after the Golden Globes Awards so the conversation centered around Orpah for President and the Time’s Up movement. I encourage you to watch the video linked here and then come back and read the rest of this post. And, we’re back. Did you see poor Tom Hanks’ face? He looked like he wanted that couch to open up and grab him. This man, who has done nothing wrong, (that we know of) looked so guilty and embarrassed I half expected him to apologize for being male. It was in that moment that I realized I hate the Time’s Up and Me Too movements and I am genuinely scared about its future ramifications
Before I go any further let me make one thing clear, no person regardless of gender should have to endure sexual harassment and/or sexual assault at any time and in any situation. Like most every woman, I have a few Me Too stories, some I have shared with others and some I will never speak of. When faced with those incidents I didn’t always handle the situation properly. I didn’t always go to the authorities or a superior. Sometimes I took care of the situation (a.k.a. punched the guy and left). Other times, I just let it slide, or blamed myself. I realize now that was not the right thing to do. The ladies who came forward in the Harvey Weinstein case and in the Larry Nassar case did the right thing. The gross misuse of power not to mention the act itself, especially in team doctor Larry Nassar’s case, is unspeakable.
Which leads me to my next point, what about all the other cases that have come forward in the last couple of weeks? What about the ladies yelling about James Franco and Aziz Ansar or the 51 other men the New York Times reported that have been accused of sexual misconduct since the Weinstein scandal broke? Are all these men guilty? Some are, without a doubt, they’ve admitted to their evil deeds. But are all of them guilty? I doubt it. Take the Aziz Ansar case, he acted like an ill-mannered douche bag but his date was consenting and when things got beyond her comfort level she should have left. In fact, that’s what she eventually did. His date should have trusted her gut and left sooner. Now thanks to both of their behavior and his date’s letter to an online magazine, he has a black stain on his name. All one has to do is yell sexual assault and someone’s life is ruined. What is this, Massachusetts in the late 1600s or 2018?
What about all the women whose lives have been ruined by these entitled assholes that think with their little head instead of their big one, don’t they deserve justice? Absolutely, the guilty deserve punishment but who determines guilt? Much like the witch trials of 1692, all it takes these days is the suggestion wrongdoing and one is branded forever. The knee-jerk, guilty until proven innocent line of thinking makes me fearful for future generations, more specifically my 13 year old son. What happens when he and some other kid share a consensual kiss or more and afterward the other kid decides they didn’t want the attention? Are we going to have to walk around with consent forms on our persons before any contact? “Hey I like you and would like to kiss you but before we pucker up can you sign this form stating you won’t go to the authorities, talk crap about me on the internet or otherwise besmirch my reputation?”
But, women have had to deal with being shamed for sexual assault for centuries, isn’t it time for men to prove their innocence? While I understand this line of thinking, it’s just as horrible for a woman to have to deal with the automatic assumption that her assault was somehow ‘asked for or didn’t truly happen’ as it is for a man to have to deal with the automatic assumption that he’s an assaulter. If we as a society are truly striving for equality why do we continue to play favorites? Why do we feel to level the playing field we have to tear one thing down to build up another? We absolutely have to stop this reparations line of thinking. We as a society have to stop perpetuating the idea that one gender (or race or whatever) is any better than the other. No one is better. Every person is in charge of their own decisions and how they choose to behave.