The past few months the mounting sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and most recently, Matt Lauer has left me and most of society infuriated. Many of these allegations go back decades. Victims were told to keep their traumatic experiences a secret. The social media support trend the #MeToo, revealed that women and men from around the world have also experienced sexual harassment and that they will no longer keep quiet.
I was never in a situation that I felt unsafe or scared for my personal space being intruded. However, like some of you, my Gut Feeling has kicked in several instances. This was like a “Caution Alarm,” not quite “Danger Alert,” but definitely the sort of thing that I’d remember to keep for future references.
Here are some of the things I’ve dealt with over the years:
Cat calls, sketchy comments, kind-but-creepy oddballs giving compliments, vulgar comments and jokes, the necessity to have friends interrupt awkward situations and conversations and whisk me away, uncomfortable tension with a certain Dad I babysat for, needing to tell people several times “I’m not interested” while out with friends.
I never really thought about it much. It was just the way things were. Thankfully, I never deal with unconsented physical actions but that also left me feeling “guilty” for the BS that I did experience. Someone always has it worse than you, but that doesn’t mean that I have to belittle my own experiences because they’re not the worst case scenario. Any scenario of unwanted sexual, physical, emotional, verbal advances are unacceptable.
As a woman with ambition, liberal views, and aspirations to be an A-Lister in Hollywood, I was caught off guard when the Weinstein dirt came out. Maybe I’m still naive, but I was disgusted and astonished by his predatory habits and his ability to keep this quiet for so long. When more and more victims came forward and even more A-Listers were being named as predators I couldn’t grasp this. How is it that in 2017, women are still viewed as objects for the male gaze and physical pleasure without regards to their consent?
There has been stories told over the years about “the casting couch” but I didn’t give it much thought. I’m not in LA and am up and coming in this industry. I suppose I just didn’t think about it. But part of the issue is that it’s ingrained into our culture that this is expected. The recent SNL sketch, “Welcome to Hell”, is a perfect example of this. Basically, women have evolved to expect this poor behavior as part of normal society. We do have to hold our keys while we’re walking to our cars at night. I did have a whistle on my keys my freshman year of college. We do walk in groups and go to the bathroom together. We do have code words when we’re out friend our friends. We do have self defense classes offered at universities…
I’m realizing, that our culture thinks that WE are the problem, ergo, WE need to create a solution. But each time WE attempt to, the predator gets more creative. How about society really assesses the situation and admits that the predators and society are the ones causing the problems?
I’m sure before this article is published and the year is over more people will be exposed. At the end of a year most people reflect. I think as a society we need to reflect on the culture that we’ve created in Hollywood, politics, religious orders, school systems, our backyards and families. Do we really want to be a society that allows people in power to sexually exploit others, offer lenient criminal punishments to privileged attackers , elects political officials who have been deemed child molesters and turn a blind eye?
Unfortunately, that was the case but things have been exposed. Now it is time to decide as a society how we will proceed. Do we continue to blame women, do we shame the predators temporarily, or do we actually enact change to make this a better world for all people? Will this point in history be something that future generations will find appalling? I hope so. I hope that with the trauma that was exposed and experienced, people with strong character, both men and women are given power to create equality, respectful working environments. I hope that the revolution to end this garrish cultural trait once and for all succeeds and creates lasting results.
With all the moral and political upsets thats occured in 2017, can we please stop throwing stones and actually create a solution. Yes, those responsible need to be held accountable, but let’s stop with the nonsense. Let’s stop with the bullying, the whining, the “I hate you because you’re one on them’s!”
Put down your guns, shut your mouth and take a moment to really consider the situations. Opposition is basically so radical they become the same thing. Let’s focus our attention and goals on the outcome. Let’s build a better world together.
Literally everyone wants the same thing. To be happy and live a fulfilled life. There are so many avenues that people can take to get there. And the beauty is that “happiness” means different things to everyone.
So, People of the World, shut your mouth, put away your stupid red hats, and do some damn self-reflection. Because you clearly don’t realize it, but you create this world. You matter. You either stand up for what is really right or you don’t. It’s not only “THEM” that are at fault. It’s all of us. We let it get this far. We all need to fix it together.
To the Harveys out there, you’re so disgusting it’s uncompreenedinable. To the Matt Luagers out there, how could you? People trusted you and invited you into their homes, they had morning coffee with you and you just pretended to be someone that you’re not? To everyone who was exposed on any level of unwanted sexual advances, I’m truly sorry for your experience. I’m giving you a hug of comfort. It was not your fault. You have me and a bunch of people in the world who are not going to let this happen again. To the politicians, get off your asses, stop thinking about yourselfs and start thinking about the people of this country, because if you don’t, they will eventually realize that you don’t belong there.
This went into a few directions but the basis is my astonishment at the lack of morality and decency we have in this country’s society. It’s literally this easy to be a decent human being… ask yourself:
Am I being a jerk right now?
Yes, or no.
Reflect, world, reflect. We’ve all done shit, hopefully not to such severe extremes but still no one is pure all the time. So just do your best do be decent.
Happy new year.