So a few weeks ago on my personal Facebook I joined the #metoo movement. I, like so many others, have been on the receiving end of sexual assault and harassment.
I am a supporter of the #metoo movement. I think it’s important for those who have never been on the receiving end of sexual assault or harassment to understand that they are the lucky few. I think it’s equally important for whom it has happened to have an opportunity to say “this happened and I have had to live with it every day.”
I think it has also shone a light on how, primarily but not exclusively, women have changed the way they live to protect themselves… many times not enjoying the same freedoms a man has – such as simply walking alone. (I know! Rather than teaching people how to protect themselves from attack, how about we teach people not to attack and punish the heck out of them when they do.)
What worries me about any movement like this is the risk it runs to become a space to ‘out’ people without proof or corroboration. I don’t like trials by social media because of what it does to both sides – victim and accused.
If you have been the victim of a crime, then please talk to the police. Even if it’s one, five, fifteen years ago, then they should know about it. If you are looking for justice, they are your resource. And one voice might not make a difference but a million voices will. It will change the way sexual assault/harassment is perceived by the world (including law enforcement).
For me – and this is only my perspective – I hope #metoo will give us a historical reference point in time that we can look back one day and say “things got better after this and because of this.”
And I think our relations with one another can get better from here on in. We should be empowered by this movement to say, “I won’t stand for it. I won’t stay silent. I won’t watch it happen to someone else anymore.”
And I hope as a writer that I am more mindful of the characters I create – not that I won’t write asshole characters, but that the other characters will call them on their bullshit. They won’t let it stand.