The Me Too Movement

Sonja Jost, Senior Guest Writer

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Today I listened to a beloved teacher of mine discuss what he thinks of the new Me Too Movement. This sudden shift in social focus has sent out ripples in all directions. Some people let out a sigh of relief that the issue of sexual violence against women is being addressed. Others feel this is an outrageous witch hunt. The opinions on the matter are as diverse as the people this problem affects.

As with every movement, the question has arisen: Why now? Why didn’t these women come forward when the incident happened? It was years ago, why not just get over it? I, as a woman, would like to answer this as plainly as I can. The answer is fear. Fear that they would not be taken seriously. Fear of the shame. Fear that they themselves would be blamed. These are not irrational fears. Even now, in the year 2018, people are still blaming the victim. The teacher that I respect and listen to said very plainly “These women in the movie industry, they dress provocatively for a living. To the male brain that is an invitation.” As any woman will tell you, the way a person dresses has no direct correlation to sexual assault rates. Rape predates miniskirts. Rape rates in Islamic states, where women are required by law to cover their entire bodies, are higher than they are in the United States where laws on dress are far more lax. Rape and sexual violence are not a result of women’s promiscuity but the result of male entitlement. This is a cultural problem, one that has been instilled in us since ancient times. So, why is it an issue now? Because women are no longer as afraid. We have jobs. We have money. We have power and we are tired of being trodden on because we are seen as weak.

The same teacher asked “Isn’t it time there was a statute of limitations on these kind of accusations?” By law, crimes considered to be heinous by society have no statute of limitation. The definition of the term heinous is “utterly odious or wicked.” So, is it not odious to feel so entitled to your desires that you would disregard the sovereignty of another person’s body? Is it not wicked to take control of a person without his or her consent for your own selfish wants? Is rape not a heinous crime? I believe it is. It is high time that the justice system recognize that women should not have to bow to an antiquated social standard that tells them that they are not worth respecting.

The Movement, like any other, comes with its share of hear-say and false accusation. Women that falsely accuse men of sexual assault not only tarnish the reputation and prospects of that man but also the strength of the arguments of those who have suffered. They do a disservice to the pursuit of justice. That being said, the majority of the women now speaking out have credible evidence that they are telling the truth. I commend their bravery in the face of adversity that is still plaguing them. They have lifted up their voices for change and that vision is being realized. There is now a cultural understanding that if you abuse women, you will not get away with it. Women will no longer stay quiet. Men in power may no longer take whatever they want.

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The Me Too Movement