Recently producer Harvey Weinstein has been accused of sexual assault. Along with him, many others including actor Kevin Spacey, actor Dustin Hoffman, former president George H.W. Bush, and actor Ben Affleck have been accused of sexual assault.
Since then, the hashtag “MeToo” was rekindled by Alyssa Milano, a friend of one of Weinstein’s victims. The purpose of this hashtag is for those who have been sexually assaulted to write #MeToo as a status to show how substantial of an issue this is. This hashtag has gotten more than 51,000 responses, most of which are men and women saying “Me Too.”
While this hashtag does show the magnitude of the problem, it still leaves the weight of the problem on the victims instead of on the perpetrator, and even then many of those who have been sexually assaulted are brushed aside.
When victims speak up about sexual assault, they are often interrogated, scrutinized, or even told things like “it happens.” And it does happen, in fact, every 98 seconds someone in America is sexually assaulted. That doesn’t mean anyone’s experience should be belittled, and that doesn’t make it okay.
Sexual assault is defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. So why is it so common?
Women are taught to monitor what they wear, where they go, and what to do to avoid sexual abuse. Men are ultimately taught that it won’t happen to them, and if it does it isn’t as significant as it is if it happens to a woman.
This shouldn’t be the case at all. Instead of teaching people to avoid being sexually assaulted, we should be teaching people that sexual assault isn’t okay and that there are consequences. We should be encouraging men and women to speak up. We should make men feel comfortable to tell their stories without desensitizing the issue.
No means no. Your feelings matter. Whether it be getting touched, groped, or raped, whether you’re a male or a female, sexual assault is sexual assault. You don’t have to brush it aside and you don’t have to be okay with it — because it isn’t okay. Sexual assault isn’t okay.