If there is one incredible silver lining to come from all of the ugliness in the news over the last year, or so, it is that victims of sexual assault are feeling safe enough to step forward.
What brings this top of mind today is the outrageous spin Donald Trump is trying to put on the latest accusations of alleged sexual assault. I watched, live, as this Republican Nominee for POTUS used the “why didn’t she say something THEN?” excuse.
My answer: Natasha Stoynoff didn’t say anything in 1998 because the culture of knee-jerk-reaction – “blame the victim” – wasn’t just part of the playbook back then, IT WAS the playbook.
Stoynoff doesn’t need this shit storm — I don’t know her, but I’m going to guess that the LAST thing she would choose is to be forever tied to the man who allegedly forcibly kissed her…..her assaulter.
The other awful story — that IMHO was a catalyst for great change, in Canada at least — Jian Ghomeshi. An incredible tale of predatory behaviour, behaviour so many turned a blind-eye to. How Ghomeshi tried to spin things, feeling the “power of celebrity”, before apologizing for his actions to Katheryn Borel. This single move brought our society ever closer to where we need to be with regard to rape culture. To HEARING victims.
Borel masterfully used the system to be able to tell her story. It is a moment I will never forget. THIS JUST IN: victims don’t want cash settlements, they want real change.
I could go on. Bill Cosby! America’s DAD. There’s this…..58 at last count. 58.
The fear of being dismissed, as Donald Trump attempting to do to his accusers, is no longer acceptable. Consent is required, everytime. You don’t just “go grab” yourself some p*ssy, Mr. Trump. You said it, you apologized for it with a “but” — that’s not good enough.
It needs to be acknowledged that this is not what happens with “all men” in “locker-room talk”. It needs to be acknowledged that forcing yourself on a woman is sexual assault — e v e r y t i m e.
I’m disgusted by the Old Boys Club message being put out by a man with a 50/50 shot at the White House. I’m disgusted by anyone, for that matter, who thinks it’s his right – if his wallet is big enough – to act the role of the Dirty Old Man. Gross.
Many of us, of a certain age, grew up in this culture of women as objects, women as something to own or control. We are not. Most men know that, by now.
As one of the first women to be allowed into professional sport locker-rooms, I can tell you, there is not a rape culture in there. There is respect in there. There is professionalism in there. There is a culture of “thanks mom” in there.
The veil is being lifted. Victims can speak up, no matter how long ago you were assaulted and you can tell your truth, you can…you will be heard. That’s the Silver Lining of this Playbook. Because it’s 2016. There are many nervous men checking their behaviour — and they should.
Most men knew this from the get-go and by now those who didn’t know, do. The role of any real man is to stand by women, beside women — while identifying as the (often) physically stronger but equal human — with zero tolerance when it comes to predatory behaviour of any kind. Zero.
If you see it, report it. Period.