SOME RANDOM THOUGHTS ABOUT SEXUAL HARASSMENT …
THANK YOU HARVEY WEINSTEIN…..
(A note – I wrote this before everyone else jumped on the bandwagon, like Tom Hanks, Jane Fonda – their opinions matter and they are right, but it’s like you have to be a celebrity to have an opinion on this? Or expose it? Don’t think so.)
Yes, thank you, Harvey Weinstein, the world’s current most famous sexual harasser. In spite of the fact that you are a very sick man, you have really shone a spotlight on this issue. And, we also know you are not alone. Your compatriots in all businesses need to have the spotlight shining on them too.
Let’s be clear, in no way am I defending sexual predators or harassers. They need education, training and some very heavy consequences. And, so do women. Everyday I am stunned by what is put out by the media on how women should look and act. For the most part, it is men who are sending out these messages. But, there are some female reality stars that truly are having too much negative influence on young women. (I shall refrain from using names, but you know who I mean.) They walk around half naked with absolutely showing no sense of self worth or dignity. Wearing thong jeans and exposing yourself in public, taking nude photos and sexy videos and putting them online is not okay – and yes, you will be harassed because of it, right or wrong. And, you will also be shamed – not your prettiest picture.
So, thank you Harvey Weinstein for bringing all this out into the open even more than it was. However, after hearing that some 60 (I’ve lost count) women in Hollywood are accusing HW of flagrant misdeeds, it got to me – MORE THAN 60 WOMEN. What the heck is really going on? Did he have every young actress in Hollywood? When did he have time to make movies? If that many women knew, why didn’t anyone say anything? Why did it take an article in The New Yorker before there was any hubbub? Why was it all ignored for so long? (Apparently, there were a few muffled voices along the way.)
When a man, who has a home, an office, is married asks you to come up to his hotel room – aren’t you the least circumspect? Were they all in a daze? And, if you were in a hotel room, couldn’t you start screaming? If someone started to molest you, wouldn’t you scream? Or was it because it was the famous Mr. Weinstein that you turned coy. You were not 5 years old and told, “Don’t tell anyone, this will be our little secret.” If he pinned you down, I understand, but that is not what most of these women said happened.
For better or worse, Hollywood has always had a casting couch. They have always had the beautiful girl to flaunt and abuse. Goes back 100 years now. And, abuse of women and girls goes back thousands of years in society. Unfortunately, too many women have felt it was their only way to get ahead – talent or no talent. The moguls will take advantage and get what they can get – as will most men. It’s up to women to say no and kick them in the balls if you need to. Anyone notice the old movie messages …. men seem to really love John Wayne – the man’s man. His movies include him forcing women to kiss him and then noting how the little woman will just finally fall into his arms after he forces himself on her. (“See women really like it. No does not mean no.”) Take a look at most of the movies, especially 50s and 60s (but it goes on now too) and you will see it was and is a man’s world and that means the man still has the right to do what he wants to the ‘little woman.’ Why I was just watching reruns of Bewitched – one of my favorites – but in spite of the strong Samantha, she was still always trying to placate and please her man, who repeatedly said, “No wife of mine is going to work.” [The messages we send to girls and boys!!!]
The law was and rarely is of help. There was no such thing as marital rape until 1993 and though it is a crime, each state has different delineations. For example, in South Carolina, there has to be additional violence to the woman before it can be considered a form of spousal abuse or rape. (Just think about it – in order to get justice, you have to make sure you get beat up.) Then we have social media. Even today, when a female accuses someone of molesting her, she becomes the victim again – she is maligned, shamed and can be destroyed if her accusations could possibly destroy some young man’s sports career. And, just reporting a rape is like being retraumatized. Having to take a physical after being physically assaulted is degrading, occasionally painful and often the victims are looked at by medical and police staff as being the real problem and not the guy who caused all of the trauma.
How many men are actually arrested and convicted of rape? How many men are arrested and convicted of child molestation? A recent statistic I saw stated that out of 1000 rapes, 994 perpetrators walk free. Women are afraid to report for good reason. And, out of 311 arrests made – 7 get a felony conviction and 3 actually go to jail.
But, the HW issue is another matter. Too many women…too many people knew of his reputation and his actions. And, without the magazine article, this would/could have continued. Again, he is not alone. He just did it so much!!! If all the males who sexually harassed others in the workplace were put on trial – well, I guess it would only be women really running this country. This issue goes to the highest office in the land as well. But, women!!! You anger me in your complicity. In your failure to join together to come forward until you jump on the bandwagon only after someone else was strong enough to say something.
There is a big difference here between women who have been sexually molested and raped by strangers, by family members, by bosses etc. and what happened with HW. There are girls who are sold into marriages at the age of 13 to someone 30 or 40 years their senior and used as a slave. Children who are repeatedly molested by a relative and can do nothing and no one believes them. These people do not get millions in a settlement from some rich entrepreneur. These females are not famous and the pain and shame they carry all their lives can be debilitating. Who will help them?
In my practice, I still see young women who are afraid to speak up to their husbands or boyfriends. When I ask the question if there has been any history of abuse or molestation, I am more surprised when the client says no than yes. It is 2017, not 1017 so why are these issues still so common place? Why do women let themselves be abused? It isn’t like we need the man for a paycheck anymore. And, why would any woman vote for a man who has his own history of molesting and harassing women – even committing crimes against women (see his own words). It shows a total lack of self respect. It says you really don’t care about yourself and that you are not important and that the man is more important than you.
I still have hope that things will change for the better. Not all men harass nor molest. Not all men degrade or think less of women. And, it is time for both sexes to take a look at what the media is presenting to us as ‘normal.’ This is what impressionable minds, both male and female, see and what becomes the norm for them. Shows like The Housewives of ….you name the city. The fighting and screaming that women do between each other and how these women act is deplorable. The shows like Jerry Springer, Maury Povich, Dr. Phil, couples airing all their dirty laundry and vitriol. Marriage Boot-Camp shows that depict horrible communications between people who supposedly love each other. This is NOT normal and it is NOT okay. Yet, people continue to watch and men continue to produce these shows and create anger, chaos and, typically, rotten solutions. It may be entertaining, but it begins to permeate the subconscious and is reflected in our culture and our daily lives.
So, if you really want things to be different, start acting differently. This goes for both sexes. Women, have more self respect. Don’t train your daughters to be divas who are second class citizens and think it’s okay for young girls to expose themselves. It isn’t okay and it has consequences. Don’t train your sons to be abusers and not to respect women. Fathers and mothers set examples. It all starts very early on. (Who knows what Harvey Weinstein’s upbringing was like – OMG.) And it is time to respect yourself. Don’t patronize businesses that degrade women. Don’t watch tv or movies that demean and demoralize women. Be appropriate in your life. And, don’t let the Harvey Weinsteins of the world get away with this… GET ANGRY, SAY SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING. You don’t have to wait any longer for 50 other women to come forward first.