Column: Me too

Addressing sexual harassment amid the Harvey Weinstein scandal


Parker Nolan and Avery Degenhardt

Sexual assault is the most under-reported crime where 63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

As I scroll through my social media feeds, #metoo appears over and over.

Posts of many actresses giving their testimonies of what film producer Harvey Weinstein did to them when they were seeking roles in many of his successful films.

As someone who wants to enter the movie industry, it makes my heart hurt. More than 15 actresses have come forward to give their testimonies of how Weinstein assaulted them. He lured them in and promised them their wildest dreams just to betray them for his own personal gain. This whole Weinstein scandal has created something bigger on the pages of many social media platforms: the fight for a change in attitude toward women–the very attitude that has long enraged me.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, “one in five women will be raped at some point in their lives.” Sexual Assault is also the most under-reported crime where “63 percent of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.” This statistic alone speaks incredibly loud for American society.

Nothing makes my blood boil more than when a friend tells me what their boyfriend or person they have feelings for is pressuring them to do when they’re not ready. I want to scream that they are worth more than that. I want to hold them tight and make them understand that the person they have feelings for should completely respect their boundaries.

Nothing upsets me more than when I am scared of getting out of my car in a dark parking lot as the headlines flash through my mind. I wish I did not have to be scared of the “suspicious” looking guys in the car next to mine, but that is what girls are taught to do.

Nothing is worse than hearing a boy in one of my classes make misogynistic jokes about women staying in the kitchen and then saying, “I’m just kidding. I’m not sexist.” After all, there’s truth behind every joke, isn’t there? Maybe not consciously, but to make the joke means that it’s at least a part of the mindset so many activists have tried to erase.

If you’re annoyed by seeing the repetition in the media of #metoo, all I have to say is you weren’t there.

You were not there when those actresses were assaulted.

You were not there when that girl was followed into the bathroom by a strange man at the mall.

You were not there when that woman was abandoned by her husband who “had needs” after she became wheelchair-bound with a debilitating disease.

You were not there when that group of men whistled and catcalled a woman jogging, who was self-conscious about the way she looked.

You were not there when the new college graduate was excluded from conversations with male co-workers just because she was a female working in a male-dominated field.

You were not there when a mother told her daughter that she needed to buy prettier clothes and straighten her hair to look presentable.

You were not there on the first date when the boy got upset because he bought the girl dinner and she did not give him “something in return.”

You were not there when the girls were told it was not modest to practice in sports bras, while the boys working hard in the gym next door did not question being able to practice without a shirt.

You were not there when the girl on the college campus was raped at a party, and the campus security told her that the man who committed the crime didn’t mean to.

All of these examples are true stories that have happened to women across the nation.

I don’t write this to say I hate the other gender. I say this to call attention to an issue that is ignored by so many. It is not just the assault and abuse that needs to stop– it is the entire mindset towards women in society. It is the systematic repression of women through misogyny and sexist ideals upon which the fundamentals of a culture were built that needs to change. This repression is shown widescale in the number of sexual assaults in America and in the “harmless” jokes about women. It is between the lines that all these events occur, like when a Google employee sent a memo claiming that “genetic differences” explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.”

Change starts now by listening to the testimonies of so many. It starts with the transformation of attitude because attitude is one of the only things we have control over in life. By starting with an individual attitude, the attitudes of many can transform and create something anew. Many people fear change, but this is something that can no longer be swept under the rug. Do not be afraid to stand up and say #metoo to raise awareness and make a difference.