The #MeToo movement is loud and clear and making a difference. How many centuries and decades had to pass before women who fought for their power and finally began to own their right to speak out against sexual harassment and abuse became heard?
We know the history of women’s rights so that question is basically redundant. But in the past almost two years, women have begun to stand up for their rights and speak out loud about crimes against their person and human rights.
Where did such brevity stem from? Without getting into politics, which I follow very closely, both in my own country Canada, and the U.S., I would have to say that women began to take a stand by speaking out louder and protesting first after the Bill Cosby molestings and increased when the new administration took over in the White House inspiring women all over the world to join in with their protests and stories. Many politicians and Hollywood names have been called out and have and are facing the repercussions for current and past bad behavior.
We’ve seen famous household names been named and charged for their crimes. So why has it taken so long for this movement to rise? Because every haystack has its breaking point – the point where just one more straw on the pile finally topples over and spills. This inspired women to come together and speak their truths – some hidden for decades, some still fresh. One voice alone couldn’t be heard, drowned out by naysayers and persecution for telling their truth. But strength in numbers has given women the voice of many to speak out and be heard. One spark of truth became an inferno, and this inferno became the catalyst for women to take back their power – a power they’ve always held under wraps, keeping their stories silent in fear of retaliation, more abuse, losing their jobs and fear of being called out as liars from their abusers, and often, the law.
It took strength in numbers to be heard. When several victims stepped forward with their stories, many calling out a common abuser, the world began to listen. Maybe it was the Bill Cosby victims then the Harvey Weinstein victims, well known politicians and other Hollywood names and the various members of the Whitehouse – not excluding the president, who were systematically called out by multiple women, inspiring women to unite to start make those people accountable for their actions. The big voices and big names allowed the less famous individuals who’ve been abused feel safe in telling their stories and taking a stand. Cracking open one seed grew a forest of trees, giving women the nerve to join together and take back their power.
Whatever event it took to start this movement, it was a long time coming and an inevitable coming. One brave victim enabled others to freely shed their shame when they knew they were no longer alone. They knew their lone experience of shame and abuse could be spoken aloud and finally be heard without being chastised and hushed through means of blackmail and threats.
What inspired me to add to the conversation is the current controversy going on with the White House desperately trying to confirm a new Supreme Court judge who is accused of holding a lot of bias toward women’s rights, instilling for many American women, petrified that rights given to them that took decades to acquire may be overturned if this judge were to be seated on the Supreme Court. As if this event wasn’t big enough in itself, a former female classmate of this nominated judge has come forward accusing this judge of sexually attacking her when they were back in high school, and subsequently, other allegations have followed. The controversy grows as the republican’s agenda is to rush through his confirmation before the midterms and their insistence that these women’s claims coming forward doesn’t warrant an FBI investigation before appointing this judge for a lifetime seat on the bench.
I won’t elaborate on the politics behind this decision to ‘hurry up’ the judge’s confirmation. But similar controversy occurred in the early 90’s with the Anita Hill case against Justice Clarence Thomas—- during his own confirmation hearings, and Hill’s testimony of her allegations about the then judge, fell on deaf ears and created a sham of a hearing, ultimately allowing his confirmation to go through despite the allegations. And now with these new allegations from Professor Christine Blasey Ford et al against the behavior of nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh said to have occurred over 30 years ago appears to be questionable by the senate because republicans aren’t interested in investigating the matter further by calling in witnesses or the FBI to investigate their claims, not giving Dr. Ford a fair hearing to plead her case. After all, the event allegedly happened some 30 years ago so why come forward now?
That question brings me to my point about #MeToo. It doesn’t matter how long ago a person has been violated! It has taken some women a lifetime of silence and others, decades of carrying their shame, knowing they could not speak out because of the repercussions they feared even more so for some than when they were attacked. Time doesn’t make those memories go away, and time passed does not exonerate the abusers! There is no time limit on how long it takes a woman to muster the courage to speak out. There is no time limit for violators to be let off the hook. Only with the advent of the #MeToo movement have women been made to feel safe and heard calling out their abusers. Many of these stories of abuse and violation are old. They have rested dormant in the psyches of these victims. No time limits can be put on those events to deem them irrelevant or expired. When a woman, or any human being for that matter, is stepping up with their hurt and humiliation they are entitled to be heard! No person, no judge, no president should be exempt from being punished for their crimes.
#WhyIDidntReport this is a powerful hashtag trending on Twitter -There are now thousands of women who have gained the courage to speak out against sexual abuse and rape thanks to first, the #MeToo Movement and now a newer kind of movement has begun with women feeling the need to speak out after years of hiding their shame. It’s disheartening to learn just how many women have been raped and sexually attacked and abused. Why are they speaking now? Because they finally found a place where it’s safe among thousands of other women to speak out what some have buried for decades. They are finally being heard and taken seriously and just maybe, some of these abusive men will think a little harder before harassing or abusing another woman because the world is now listening.
It’s no different for a woman to speak out no matter how much time has passed since her abuse, just as many men are coming out recently with accusations of priests molesting them in Catholic churches. It’s never too late for anyone to speak out against such violations on their person. And it’s nobody’s right to tell a victim it’s too late, it didn’t happen or they asked for it. NO means NO!