In the wake of the latest sexual harassment scandal, this one targeting Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, many women on Facebook (including me) posted this:
If all the women who have been sexually harassed
or assaulted wrote “Me too.” as a status,
we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
While I knew the number of “me, too” posts wouldn’t be insignificant, I was not prepared for just how many women have faced harassment or assault. A shocking number. It seemed like just about every woman on social media.
As you might expect, a few men piped in, not taking it seriously. Making fun by saying “me, too” when it was unlikely. Usually men on the right side of the spectrum. And a few women blamed other women for dressing provocatively, “bringing it on themselves” and the like. All very expected. And stupid. Because when I scanned through the hundreds (if not thousands) of me, too posts I saw on line it was clearly not possible that every single woman who experienced this horrific behavior had “brought it on themselves.”
This little social media experiment showed how shockingly pervasive sexual harassment and/or assault is. How many men do not respect or even accept “no” and exert power and pressure to get compliance from women loathe to ruin their chances for their big break or afraid of getting fired or otherwise ostracized.
It also helps clarify why so many voters didn’t care that Trump had harassed and abused women. Sexual harassment seems to be a tacitly acceptable part of our culture.
Sexual harassment in trade for favors or for any reason at all is not tolerable.
So here’s my question: what are we going to do about it? Women and men both?
What are we going to do about it?