They wanted fame and fortune, what’s the big deal?
Shame on them for not coming forward sooner. They could have stopped this a long time ago.
They’re adults who can take care of themselves, what about the kids?
Why put themselves IN that situation? Surely they are also responsible for letting it happen?
…. Some of the things I’ve read in response to the Harvey Weinstein Hollywood Scandal, comments from both men and women, by the way, just saying. I’ve been driven to write this piece purely to inform the ignorant, the ones who do not understand what it’s like to be on the receiving end, do not realise that at some stage in their life that they too have possibly been harassed or abused, or those who like to joke or make light of the situation… because there’s a time and a place for humour and this isn’t one of them, isn’t that right James Corden?
I’m going to take a step back to about six or eight weeks ago when Taylor Swift won her civil suit against that DJ who groped her while she was working. I was sitting in the car listening to the story with my fiancee. At the end of the segment, there was an announcement “If any woman has been affected by these issues, contact xxxx…” to which my other half instantly outburst “Here we go again with the women, what about the men? Is there no help for them?”
I sat in silence for a moment. Paused and thoughtfully collected my words. A man and a woman sitting in the car, roughly the same age (30, 31), have lived in the same area for all or most of their lives. Worked in various places, went to college etc we both hit similar life milestones and were far from inexperienced in life.
I said, “How many times were you sexually harassed, assaulted, groped or any of the likes in the workplace or anywhere outside of it?”
“Well, none, but that’s not the point”
“I get your point, there should be equal support for both men and women, yes. Do you know how many times that I have been sexually harassed, assaulted, groped be it in work or anywhere?”
The answer is I’ve lost count. The point being that it does happen on a daily basis to women, and if it happens to men then it’s either rare OR not reported (and the only way to make this situation “equal” is for men to also speak up about it) (For arguments sake I’m not disregarding the many brave men who have come forward in the Church Abuse Scandal, the context of this particular conversation was in regards to the workplace)
Since childhood, I have been subject to rape, molestation, psychological & emotional abuse, grooming – by not one, but MANY people I’ve crossed paths with in different situations. At 14 I was assaulted in my first job, a taxi office, by the base controller who was 32 at the time. At 16 I worked in a pub as a lounge assistant and every weekend my ass would get regularly pinched by drunken so and so’s. At 18 I worked in another taxi office and had to complain against a 40-something taxi driver who slapped my ass as I walked by him to get to my desk. He then proceeded with inappropriate sexual “banter” that left me sick to the stomach. I would stand at a bus stop and watch cars slow down for the occupants to get a good look or shout something out the window at me like “the size of your tits love” (something I’ve also heard while standing in a queue for the shop or chipper on a Sunday afternoon). I’ve had random strangers face plant my boobs in pubs and nightclubs, once I had a woman in the toilet (ya know the ones who charge €2 for a paper towel) in Diceys literally squeeze my chest, eyes wide saying “OMG Are they real?!?! – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg – all without my permission to do so.
And the sad fact is, I know of at least 10 women who I have either worked with, been friends with or went to college with who have confided in me that they had experienced rape – never mind the stuff that’s considered misdemeanor.
I’ve been accused of using my “unfortunate experiences” to my advantage in order to manipulate others, namely an ex-boyfriend of mine, which is something I don’t think I’ll ever forgive (hey friend of ex-boyfriend, if you’re reading this you’re still a prick!). No-one wants to be raped in the hope that they will get what they want in life on sympathy. And it’s been that reason why I have said nothing up until now.
My experiences at such a young age knocked my ability to stand strong when I knew something was wrong. It weakened me, and numbed me. And thinking about it now, my self-respect was stolen from me.
I’m not going to lie, right up until I found my lifelong partner, yes I did wear low cut tops on nights out because I thought I was only worth anything to someone for the size of my chest.
I thought I was only worth something if I kept quiet and let it happen.
I thought I would find respect and love by doing what the other person wanted.
Sometimes saying “no” over and over was not enough and it seemed easier to just give up and lie down.
Lads and Ladies, can I just make it 100% clear that when someone says “NO” that doesn’t mean they’re playing hard to get and that you should keep advancing until you get the outcome that you want.
If someone finds themselves totally out of their brains on drink and drugs, that does not give you an open invitation to advance on them – and that does not mean it’s their own fault for “putting themselves in a compromised position” – It’s your own fault if you choose to drive a car when under the influence, it is not your fault if you get hit by a drunk driver.
If someone wears tight jeans, a short skirt or a low cut top, that does not give you automatic permission to put your hands on them.
And if someone is looking for a job, it is absolutely NOT fucking ok to tell them that they only way they’re going to get it is if they have sex with you.
It is NOT a crime to be naive, green or inexperienced in your field of life. It IS a crime to abuse your position of power and subject someone vulnerable to do things which they do not want to.
Just imagine for a moment. You’re married and have a young family. You’re in debt and at risk of losing your house. You meet the bank manager who asks to be left alone in the room with you, offers you a drink to calm your nerves then starts to speak casually about different things to put you at ease. Then the conversation takes a turn which makes you feel uncomfortable. The bank manager talks about various clients he/she has slept with, making it sound normal. Then says that those clients are now debt free and have their homes secure and are free to live their lives with a roof over their head. Then says that the clients who he/she DIDN’T sleep with are now homeless and have been blacklisted on the financial register, never to receive credit again. As you get up to leave, the bank manager puts their foot in the door and looks into your eyes. What do you do?
Because it’s not just an issue over fame and fortune, heck the stories I’ve read so far from the women who have come forward I never even heard of them before!! (Original Article – and since then there have been dozens of “well known” names who have come forward) This is about abuse of power. The tale of David & Goliath is just a story – in the real world if you hold the power, you hold everything, and if you have the money and the power to back you up, you will get away with it.
Even in a circumstance not surrounded by media, it is still down to one word versus another and the accused is innocent until proven guilty. How can you prove that something happened in a room with two people, no witnesses, and no evidence? How can you make a case against someone who may be highly respected in the community without tearing your own life apart and be subject to intense scrutiny?
Who would BELIEVE your word over theirs?
That’s the reason why people don’t come forward. Because it’s easier to keep quiet. Less hassle. Suffer in silence. Move on.
Because even right now, I feel like people are going to think that I’m either looking for attention or to steer clear because I have some imaginary contagious disease. Fellow survivors, you get it, the last thing we want is a permanent “victim” stamp blazoned on the forehead.
It’s common. Way more common than we would currently imagine. It’s happening every day and has been happening since the beginning of time. I’m now coming back to edit this blog after seeing countless #metoo posts on social media. It’s everywhere.
It’s common, it’s “normal” – that doesn’t make it OK either.
It’s very easy to say “If that was me, I’d have kicked him in the balls and legged it” but let’s get real here – in life where we automatically pick the easy option, which is easier? To up-end your entire life and subject yourself to public humiliation, or to lay down and keep your mouth shut? Be realistic, when weighing up the consequences in those short moments, you cannot possibly assume what you would do in hindsight – there’s a reason it’s called hindsight.
Give them some slack, it takes a LOT of guts to expose yourself to vulnerability.
So to finish off, from me to you, here’s what you can do to make the world a better place.
- Don’t be an asshole. The world can do with fewer assholes in it.
- Don’t pinch or grope anyone without their permission, no matter how hot they are or if you think they’re into that shit (they’re likely not)
- Don’t lie about unwanted sexual advances – because that’s just as bad as committing the act itself.
- Don’t be a pester fuck – repeatedly advancing until they give in – no means no, it’s not a game of cat and mouse. (Be it married, in a relationship or just at a house party with someone you don’t really know etc etc)
- Be clear in your communication. As a society, we’re too focused on preventing offense, that a lot of the time mixed signals happen down to a lack of clear communication. Be blunt if you have to. Just because you’re a nice person doesn’t mean you have to be polite when you feel that someone is invading your personal space.
- Don’t get hung up over rejection – it happens, get over it and don’t be an asshole if you get rejected. (You KNOW what I mean)
- Do listen to what is NOT being said. Sometimes it’s very hard to open up when you need help.
- Don’t brush this subject under the carpet. If you’re not a part of the solution, you’re a part of the problem.
- Don’t support any known abusers, famous or not, I can’t believe that Chris Brown is still making and selling music. There are some fitness professionals out there too, known for abusing women yet women and men are still working with them. The mind boggles.
- If in doubt, take The Rock Test – it’s very simple, check it out.
For the future of our children, it is important that we teach them how to love and respect others. For centuries this has been swings and roundabouts, and no doubt another scandal in another industry will be exposed in years to come. So learn from the past, prevention is so much better than cure – teach your kids to be good decent human beings.
Because success is so much sweeter when you know you’ve gotten there by doing right by others, not by wronging them.
(Note: If you know me personally and the information I have shared is a shock to you, know that I’m alright, I’ve done my own healing and just do what I do to try to make my world and *the* world a better place. It would not be productive or helpful if you felt awkward in my company knowing what you now know, I’m good, it’s OK and if I have inspired you to share something, that’s OK too! And don’t mention it to my parents, they don’t need to be reminded of something that they could not have possibly prevented. The only blame lies with those who wronged me, and I do not waste my thoughts or energy on them anymore. Seriously, I’ve agonised for a long time whether to publish this and only recent events pushed me to do it. They don’t need the reminder. Be Well and Be Kind xx)