This #metoo debate has everyone up in arms, and rightfully so. Taking the nation (world?) by storm, the #metoo hashtag sustained a sense of solidarity that rape/sexual abuse victims often lack. It provided an indestructible chain of women, digitally joining hands and outstretched for hypothetical miles and miles, finally facing and accusing the sexual predators that stripped them of self-esteem, virginity, confidence, purity, trust, etc., days, years, and even decades ago.
It was amazing to watch the hashtag grow and the stories unfold. Many people shared their own intimate experiences via social media, and some even named their accused. As popularity exploded, Hollywood also joined in on the action, with numerous big-name men accused of sexual assault, abuse, or rape. Left and right, public accusations were made, public apologies followed, and consequences struck. Actors and directors were fired from their lifetime careers.
It may sound like I’m defending these bastards, but I’m absolutely not. I am not immune to the satisfaction felt when these individuals are stripped of the lifestyle they’ve comfortable sown, built upon a myriad of lies, secrets, and power.
I absolutely believe these women. In fact, I posted my own #metoo social media post, just as I posted my own #beenrapedneverreported story years ago when that hashtag surfaced as well. Conservative estimates show 1 in 5 women have been raped, but a majority of my friends, family, and outer circle have faced some sort of sexual assault and so I know these numbers are low.
And since these predators have committed such atrocities, they absolutely need to be punished, publicly humiliated, and stripped of all of their successes (especially those that hinged on the people they
stuck their dick in stepped on to get there).
However… and it’s a big however, folks. We live in a country with a justice system. Is it a shitty justice system? Well, I’ll leave that to your research and opinion. But, it’s a justice system that touts an individual is innocent until proven guilty. There are numerous reasons why one doesn’t report a rape, none of which invalidates the rape or makes the accused any less guilty.
Is there a time limit on how long one is traumatized by rape? Hell no. But there’s a statue of limitations. There’s a time frame in which evidentiary support can be gathered – and unfortunately, that time frame is minuscule. A rape kit has to be collected within 72 hours from the time of the assault. Witness memory retention dwindles with each passing moment.
Am I saying that these #metoo calls for prosecution of a sexual predator are in any way invalid or inferior? Not a bit. But, I also think immediate termination from a lifelong career based solely on an accusation is a slippery slope. Prosecution doesn’t validate a rape – a victim’s experience is the sole validation needed to constitute trauma. And I’m by no means victim blaming that they didn’t report their sexual assault earlier (and sadly, as some of these reports read, they reported to parents, adults, doctors, and even confronted the abuser, without action). I’m simply questioning the lack of judiciary action occurring with these immediate terminations. Unfortunately, false reports for spite do exist, though they’re infrequent. I can’t imagine being on the flip side of the coin and being accused of something I didn’t do, only to see my career destroyed because of it.
This is an insanely dangerous slippery slope. I feel like less of a feminist by even suggesting that perhaps we shouldn’t immediately terminate an accused. But one of the pillars of our country is the judicial notion that one is innocent until proven guilty. The balance is delicate. We need to establish judiciary processes that make it easier on a victim. No victim blaming/shaming, a less invasive way to poke and prod at a victim while obtaining a rape kit, more severe consequences for convicted. We need to make an environment conducive to victims immediately coming forward and sharing their story. I feel that a victim reserves his or her right to share the experience with whomever, whenever, and for whatever reason, but I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect these #metoo accusations, decades later, to lead to criminal consequences. It’s an unfortunate truth.
Am I saying I want to leave my 7 year old daughter in a room with one of these men? Absolutely not. But to see that they’ve been booted from Hollywood with just a few words certainly worries me for the future of our justice system.
Please note that I’m not referring to any of these scenarios in which there has been evidentiary support or a confession. I’m simply generalizing the other accounts that haven’t been verified.