Our society has a way of warping what it means to be brave, or courageous.
What represents heroism today? To the left, it would seem clear: Caitlyn Jenner for being a trans millionaire. The idea that “loving” your North-of-300lbs body is admirable. Getting out of bed when you’re struggling with depression (Battling mental illness blows. And it’s really hard. But I’m not a hero for doing it). Rejecting family and children in favor of a life of perpetual adolescence.
But the right?
We are the ones who seek to support our military, to be thankful to law enforcement for keeping us safe, who look to those who have come back from battle with physical and mental wounds as true American heroes.
So why on earth are we now worshipping celebrities who knowingly made a deal with the devil to further their careers, only speaking out now that it has become the MAGA Cause™ Du Jour?
With “#WeinsteinGate” still going strong, we have seen victim after victim (And the occasional useless enabler) come forward, both in Hollywood and in other entertainment industries, with stories of their own harassment or sexual abuse at the hands of some suit wearing bigwig type. All over Twitter, conservative keyboards are aflutter with messages of “support” and “solidarity” with people who don’t deserve a word of it.
What is happening here?!
Is it because we are (rightfully) pleased to see the leftist elites losing their moral pedestal, and want to further the cultural hailstorm they’ve unleashed upon themselves?
That’s part of it, I’m sure.
But I suspect a deeper reason.
On the issue of sexual abuse, so many of us on the right have, like the feminists and leftists we rightly criticize, chosen emotional feelings instead of reason and logic.
I have never been the victim of sexual abuse. That doesn’t matter.
I go into writing this article knowing that I will probably piss people off, including people I like. Feminists would never even deign to read it, but if they did, I suspect I’d be called an evil, victim-blaming, internalized misogyny ridden rape apologist.
There is one question here that matters, that we on the right and the left need to seriously ask ourselves as we make our way through the Weinstein-chasm we have collectively fallen into.
Do we want to lower the rates of sexual abuse as much as we can, or do we want to protect the feelings of those who have already been sexually abused?
I know my answer. I hope most would choose the same. I want these revolting crimes to happen to less people. I want the perpetrators punished.
But as unpopular as it may be, I’ll go a step further:
I am willing to put that goal above the feelings of anyone, including victims themselves.
I’ve wanted to write about this topic for a while, but always hesitated. Sexual abuse is a very serious topic, and, unlike many issues which draw similar emotion-based discourse, I can actually understand the pull to reject logic in cases where it might override the feelings of a victim.
The Weinstein affair, however, is an example I hope will be a little more palatable.
These victims are not naive 17 year olds away at college for the first time. They are not poor. They are not poorly educated. They are not lacking resources.
These victims are by and large multi-millionaire celebrities.
And, frankly, if we cannot expect even these (mostly) women, with every advantage on earth available to them, to report their sexual abuse and do their part to assist in curing this ill?
Good luck getting normal people to do it.
I will briefly speak to this case, in particular, as to why this does differ from “normal” sexual assault cases. It’s unpopular, but here it is: these women are victims. Absolutely. Weinstein is a pervy old blowfish who got high off of exerting sexual power over younger women. He deserves punishment and to be ostracized from his industry, not his victims.
But let’s not pretend there wasn’t an element of choice and personal responsibility involved.
These women may not have chosen what Weinstein did to them, or did in their presence. But they did have a choice at hand, and they chose poorly. They could have chosen to report the crime to law enforcement. They could have chosen to do their part, so that this pig wouldn’t be able to continue to hurt others.
They chose the status quo. They chose not to risk their careers. They chose the Hollywood sign, the neon lights, and late night industry parties, the whole glitzy lifestyle. They chose the trade-off: to accept that, for the moment, the entertainment industry is Sin City, and that if you want to f*ck with the eagles, you have to learn how to fly.
And now, now that the tide of adoration has shifted to those who have “come out”, they suddenly are willing to show their scars?
I’m glad they are speaking, no matter how late, and no matter how much continued abuse happened in their period of silence.
But they aren’t heroes for doing it. They’re not brave for following the crowd now that the time is kinder to them.
You want to see brave? Corey Feldman is brave.
Look. THIS is what bravery is. Not saying "oh, yeah, me too" when everyone else is saying the same thing and being praised for it. https://t.co/e9QZ7SnSrF
— Stefanie MacWilliams (@StefMacWilliams) October 14, 2017
He has been attempting to break the conspiracy of silence in Hollywood regarding sexual abuse, especially of “child stars”, for years.
He has been ridiculed.
He has struggled.
For goodness sake: he has risked something.
That’s courage. That’s bravery. To stick to what you believe to be right, even if it means suffering for it.
But today, to most of our culture? We must never suffer, not ever. Even if it saves other people’s lives.
I have been frustrated with feminist “anti-rape” activism for many years. It consists of very little that actually prevents rape, but hey, at least no one will be triggered!
Slut walks don’t stop rape. Posters don’t stop rape. Hysterical campus rape statistical sorcery doesn’t stop rape. If you look at how feminists work to solve this issue, you will see a theme quickly emerge.
Activism to end sexual abuse operates almost entirely from the premise that the only group who can stop sexual abuse are sexual abusers.
And I mean, it’s true, in a way: the only person who is responsible for abusing someone is the abuser. As I’ve said many times: even if I laid in the street passed out drunk while naked, if a person chose to rape me, they are still responsible.
It’s a nice platitude.
But it’s total b*llshit as a crime prevention strategy, the same way gun-free zones don’t stop anybody but law-abiding gun owners.
You know what the absolute best way to stop sexual abuse is? Reporting it.
Well, here are what a couple of feminist orgs have to say about it.
The decision to report to law enforcement is entirely yours. Some survivors say that reporting and seeking justice helped them recover and regain a sense of control over their lives. Understanding how to report and learning more about the experience can take away some of the unknowns and help you feel more prepared.
Yes, technically true: I wouldn’t force you report a crime. But you sure as hell should, and not to “help you recover” as the primary goal.
Indeed, whether or not we should report our rape is a really tricky conundrum. On one hand, we hope reporting rape will bring us justice. On the other hand, we often hear of survivors and victims being re-traumatized by the reporting process.
To clarify, this article is not meant to tell you whether you should report your rape or not.That’s your choice entirely.
Instead, it’s going to offer some reflective questions that will help you figure out if you want to report it.
It’s important to remember that your decision is yours. No matter what your decision is, no matter how you decide, you deserve to be supported in making it.
The truth is that reporting sexual assault takes a massive toll on you, whether you go through with a trial or not. It’s important to consider whether you have the emotional capacity to handle it or not.
Please know that if you don’t have the emotional capacity to report your assault, it doesn’t make you weak, cowardly or any less valuable. It means you’re listening to your body’s intuitive wisdom and taking care of your needs, which is wonderful.
Secondly, think about the financial impact of reporting. Will reporting your rape and pursuing charges cost you anything?
You don’t have to report your rape to speak out about it, either – I’ve personally never gone through with pursuing charges, but I’m still a vocal activist.
This article made me fume.
Something is missing here, maybe it’s obvious.
There is not a single f*cking line about the fact that maybe, just maybe, you should report what happened to you so that another girl, another one of your “feminist sisters”, doesn’t have the same thing happen to her.
I am not implying that every victim who doesn’t report is automatically “responsible” for the rapes that happen afterwards. Of course not. As I said above, criminals are still responsible for their own actions.
But it is eminently clear that if we want to actually reduce sexual assault rates, we have to be encouraging victims to make better choices. And we sure as hell have to stop treating those who shied away from doing the right thing out of fear as the real heroes.
I am not saying it’s fair. But it’s life.
Sexual assault, like any other horrific thing that can happen to a person, does not exempt you from being a moral person in the world and should not discourage you from using your own actions to improve the society we all share.
Maybe instead of screaming about male privilege, we start helping victims come forward, at a time when their coming forward can actually help other people – not their own egos, in the case of Hollywood.
I doubt feminist groups will give up their ideology long enough to think of efficacy, but there’s no reason why we can’t.
What’s the appropriate response when someone you know confides in you that they’ve been the victim of sexual abuse?
You take their hand and you help them to do what needs to be done – and you congratulate them on their incredible bravery and courage.