The newest movement that’s taking hold. So many thoughts that run through my mind about whether this will be successful. The film industry is heavily flawed in it’s overzealous attempt to only present the world with specific looking people – an old image of women and men looking a certain way. They don’t want to get too ethnic, they don’t want women who are over a certain weight – there are some exceptions of course – and they even want men to look a certain way.
Then there’s everything that happens behind the scenes that are starting to come to light – the actions specifically of Harvey Weinstein. Now, it is not just his sexual assault, his rapes, or anything else that he’s done that is coming to light – though it is the main focus of much of the force behind the movement – it is also the incredibly flawed, and disturbing actions of producers, casting agents, and the others who are behind camera, and what they do to actors and what they have actors to do for them. It is disturbing the stories that we are hearing; to say that it is wrong, would be undermining the trauma that some of these people have gone through, and yes they are PEOPLE. We can not say they are anything less than people or anything more, we can not put a money value on the job they are doing and disregard the experience they went through just because of the industry, or what they were paid. It does not make it okay, and it does heal any of the physical or mental trauma that may linger after the events they went through.
The #MeToo movement seems to be allowing women (and men) all around the world, not just in the film and TV industry to speak out about sexual harassment, assault, and what they have been through. It is a serious offense that is typically kept quiet, both in film and TV, and also in our daily lives. Why? Because like rape, women tend to be made out to be the ones who were “asking for it”. This goes for men who are victims of it to, it goes both ways. Women who wore skirts, whose bra straps were showing because they wore a tank top, or who drank too much one night. Regardless of the circumstances, women are never asking for it, and regardless of what we were doing at the time; whether we were completely sober and in sweatpants and a sweater, or posing for a new line of perfume in lingerie; women are never asking to be sexual assaulted or harassed or raped. Neither are men.
Okay, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I’m going to talk about why I’ve made this post.
I have gone on about the movement, what I think about it, and everything, and I could easily go on and on. I could talk about what specific celebrities have said, such as Jennifer Lawrence, or Anthony Bourdain; but I think that could get repetitive with a lot of the points I’ve already made. So I’m going to bring it onto a more personal level.
For many women it is difficult to face the truth of being sexually harassed, assaulted, or raped, or perhaps all of the above. They have difficulties coming to terms with it, and the trauma of the events can leave lingering effects on them. They can feel desperate, as if they can not talk to anyone about it. It’s not that they don’t have anyone they can trust. It’s that they either feel shame, or embarrassed that it happened, or they feel as though they may look at them the same way they feel; perhaps they might even be disgusted with them. In some cases, it was not a complete stranger, it was someone they knew. When it’s someone you know, it almost feels impossible to open up about it; to tell anyone about what happened, because of what the consequences of what that could be. It could be a few things, perhaps you’re afraid no one will believe you, perhaps you’re afraid that they will believe you and that person will experience sever consequences for their actions. As a victim, you feel so many terrible emotions after the events, and they are rational, but it becomes difficult to follow through on anything, to talk about anything right after.
Of course this all depends on the severity of what happened. Some women can overcome the events easier than others, some can not.
From every woman I have ever spoken to, all of them have been cat called; they have been whistled at, and called after for one reason or another. They didn’t want the attention, they didn’t leave their house or apartment expecting to get the attention, and they were simply walking down the streets. Others have confided in me more traumatic events, from unwanted violent sexual advances, to sexual advances, to rape.
I have been sexually abused, harassed, and raped. I have admitted the last part to a total of one person in my entire life. I had confronted the rapist, and I had said my piece and walked away. The scarring, both physical and mental, lasted years. The mental scarring and trauma, was by far the worse from the experience. Emotionally, it took a long time to come to terms with the events, especially the sexual abuse which lasted for several months. Like many women in abusive relationships (it also included verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and heavy manipulation), I did not realize the severity of it until I was out of the relationship. When I realized what was happening, what was really happening, I was finally able to force myself to come to terms with what happened, and from there I had to find a way to get passed it. It took a long time, but eventually I did. The rape, however, was more scarring than anything else, and that took much longer for me to connect with anyone again, let alone let myself be emotionally available to another person again.
I do not share this story to inspire sympathy. I don’t ask for it, nor do I want it. I share it because every person on this planet, male and female alike, has some kind of dark secret, trauma, buried deep within them that they may be hiding from the world. Each person has dealt with something difficult, some form of sexual harassment, assault, or rape, or all three, and have said nothing to anyone about it (or perhaps you have been lucky and have experienced none of these things). They may seem happy, and perfectly content with their lives. Each of us has been through something, and it’s time for us to stand together and support one another. It’s time for us to fight for a change in the way we treat each other. We need respect. We need boundaries. We need better control over our actions that negatively affect others. We need freedom to wear what we want without feeling as though we’ll receive negative and unwanted attention.
We should stand together and fight for a change, for equality, for fairness, for there to be no further sexual harassment, assault, or rape. We should help each other out, protect one another. We should not pity each other; we shoul not blame the victims of these actions.