Over the past few weeks, sexual allegations have been widespread and seem to never end. The list of men who have been exposed by their victims for sexual assault is continuously and disappointedly growing. With new stories of assault against prominent actors, producers, directors and now, even local artists and band members coming out almost everyday, this avalanche of survivor stories gives us a better understanding and a clearer picture of how unsafe it really is to be a woman in this patriarchal society.
Watching prominent men get outed as a predator left and right was, for the lack of better term, horrifying. But discovering that someone close to you, someone you have spent a lot of time with as a sexual predator? It was a different level of disgust, dismay, and disappointment. I always thought that being an active and vocal feminist would exempt me from having a close friend that harasses women, and I’ve always thought I’d instantly knew when a man isn’t to be trusted.
But the sad truth is this: sexual predators are everywhere. They don’t always come as powerful people like Harvey Weinstein, sometimes they’re just the regular workmates or classmates you see everyday. Even worse, sometimes it’s the friends or relatives whom you trust and have known your whole life.
Call it what you want– Weinstein ripple effect, The Great Purge, or basically just Scorpio season doing its magic– this sudden avalanche of sexual assault stories online and on the news, although maddening, is emboldening other victims to share their traumatic experiences. It’s changing the conversation; it’s making these men lose their jobs, credibilities, and power. This cycle of accusations is making them held accountable and suffer the consequences for their disgusting actions which, let’s admit, is long past due.
While some are insensitive and stupid enough to accuse these victims of “ruining lives” and “wallowing on the mistakes” of the predators, it’s important to note that speaking up about these sexual assault stories in public, specifically online, is something liberating for them. Some even have the audacity to tell them to take these accusations in private, saying that this “call out culture” is toxic. But here’s the thing: you can’t actually expect these victims to talk it out in private with their abusers when they are traumatized by their abuser’s mere presence because they have been violated, and harassed by these people.
Courageously calling out these men on public is one way of holding them publicly accountable of their actions and is also a way of looking out for other women, a public warning not to go near these men and to stop supporting their art. And if after all this, you’re still more concerned about the ruined lives and careers of these predators, then there is seriously something wrong with you.
As women, the influx of #MeToo stories is surely triggering for us. After all, we have experienced harassment in different forms. But this string of sexual assault stories is also something to be thankful for. Women have been speaking up, and for once, they are being heard. It’s amazing to see this kind of female solidarity: women looking out for each other, supporting each other, and witnessing how women’s stories are given so much importance and how their voices amplified in ways we’ve never seen before. At the time of their abuse, these women were afraid to speak up about their traumatic experiences, but now that they have found their voices and a safe place to talk, it’s time to listen to what they have to say.
For assistance about sexual assault, you may get in touch with PNP-Women and Children Protection Center (410-3213) or NBI-Violence Against Women and Children Desk (523-8231 to 38/525-6028)
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