1. Accusing the victims of lying- Very few sexual harassment victims who publicly come forward and pursue legal recourse are lying about their experiences. Being examined, cross examined and picked apart in the court of law and public opinion about sexual matters is not a pleasant or easy experience so it’s unlikely that someone would be willing to subject themselves to that if they didn’t have a legitimate claim. By accusing victims who do come forward of lying you are making victims who have so far remained silent afraid to come forward. That’s not to say that no one has ever lied about sexual harassment but the exception to the rule should not be our default response.
2. Discounting their experiences because they weren’t bad enough- Don’t turn sexual harassment in to the suffering/trauma Olympics. It’s not kind or productive to tell someone their trauma doesn’t count because you had it worse. Rape is not the only kind of sexual assault and sexual harassment takes many forms. It is any kind of unwanted sexual advances or comments. Just because you think you wouldn’t be traumatized by certain words or actions doesn’t mean other people aren’t traumatized by them. By excusing and minimizing microaggressions you are contributing to rape culture. I’ve heard rape victims say that women who come forward about ‘lesser’ sexual transgressions are being disrespectful to rape victims. I’m going to respectfully disagree and say that I think it’s the people who minimize the experiences of sexual harassment victims who are being disrespectful and are doing a disservice to women everywhere.
3. “Boys will be boys”- This is such a lame and problematic thing to say. First of all, these aren’t boys we’re talking about, they’re grown-ass men. I’d like to think being a sexual predator isn’t hardwired in to every male’s penis but even if it is, living in a civilized society means taming your impulses and behaving in a pro-social manner. Unfortunately our society conditions men to do just the opposite with its toxic masculinity and rape culture. I liked the shirt I saw on social media that said Boys will be
boys decent human beings.
4. “Not all men are awful”- Yes, we know that, there’s no need to point that out or to take “Men are scum” type statements so literally (and Facebook, there’s no need to ban women for saying “Men are scum” while letting misogynistic and racist statements fly.) Ironically it never seems to be the men who actually are decent who feel the need to respond to such statements by pointing out that decent men exist. If after hearing a woman talk about how awful men can be your immediate concern is for the feelings of men who are butt hurt by that statement and not for the physical/emotional safety of the women who are preyed on by men, you need to readjust your priorities.
5. “Oh no, now men have to worry about being accused of sexual harassment. It’s so hard to be a man these days!”- Replace the word man with the word sexual predator and that statement makes more sense. Don’t be a sexual predator and you won’t have much to worry about. Please don’t insult our intelligence by suggesting you’ll be charged with sexual harassment for hugging a woman, shaking her hand or accidentally bumping in to her in the stairwell. It’s hard to be a man these days in the same way it’s hard to be white these days, meaning it’s not. It’s an obnoxious example of victim reversal- when the privileged oppressors turn themselves in to victims because they’ve been called out on the shitty way they treat the underprivileged oppressed group.
6. Pointing out all the good things the sexual predator did- I’m glad that predator did some good things but that doesn’t mean he should get a pass for sexually harassing or assaulting people. The sexual predators are real people, not Disney villains, so of course they’re not all evil, all the time. Sexual harassment is still wrong and they should still face consequences for it.
7. Expressing outrage that Al Franken was forced to resign- Most of my Democrat friends reacted with outrage to Al Franken’s resignation whereas my reaction was “Don’t let the door hit you on the way out,you smug son of a bitch.” He’s not sorry about what he did and I’m not sorry to see him go. I agree that it’s outrageous that he was forced to resign while Trump is still in office but that means I think Trump should resign too, not that Franken shouldn’t have resigned. If you want to point out that what Franken did isn’t as bad as what Trump did I feel the same way about that as I do about # 2 on this list. To touch on my previous point, I’m glad he was a champion for women politically but he still needs to go. Maybe he’ll be replaced by a man who is a champion for women without also being a sexual harasser. I’d like to think such men exist but how about we replace him with a woman?
8. Blaming the victim,saying she had it coming, smearing her reputation- Slut shaming is not cool. A woman does not ask to be sexually harassed or assaulted by the way she dresses, speaks or behaves. You can wear revealing clothing, you can flirt with a guy and you can accept his offer of a date without deserving to be sexually harassed or assaulted. You can work at jobs or environments that involve sexual or flirtatious behavior without deserving to be sexually harassed. You can even engage in questionable behavior yourself without deserving to be sexually harassed or assaulted. And guess what? That even applies to people I personally dislike or am opposed to politically, as do all of my above points. So Leanne Tweeden being a Trump supporter, accusing someone on ‘my team’, being involved in a show that included lascivious acts, possibly forcing kisses on other men-all of that is irrelevant. She’s still a victim of sexual assault who deserves to be believed. There’s even photographic evidence of it for god’s sake.
9. By sexually harassing a woman on twitter and gaslighting the people who see it as sexual harassment- To both Donald Trump and Sarah Huckabee Sanders I say fuck you and suck it. If you see anything sexually suggestive in that statement your mind is in the gutter.
10. By voting for a pedophile- Too many people voted for a pedophile. The 65% of white women in Alabama who voted for a pedophile were also voting for a man who doesn’t think they should be allowed for vote. Thank you, black women for having more sense than that (the guy also supports slavery.)I’m so glad that Roy Moore lost (I cried with joy when Doug Jones’ victory was announced) and that this blog post can end on a happy note. It’s good to know that the republicans of Alabama do have some moral standards and they do draw the line somewhere. We still have a long way to go in terms of addressing sexual harassment and assault but this is an encouraging sign, as are all the sexual harassment victims who are coming forward with their stories. There’s hope for humanity yet.