June 7, 2018
Society still has a long way to go before we can crack open the champagne.
We’ve all seen his name plastered all over the media for the last few months. We may not like to say it, but we all know it.
His name is Harvey Weinstein.
Since The New York Times published a shocking story in October exposing numerous sexual assault allegations against Weinstein, more than 80 women have come forward with similar cases. Almost all of these women have been actresses who previously worked with Weinstein.
On May 25, 2018, Weinstein was charged and arrested for “rape, criminal sex act, sex abuse and sexual misconduct for alleged incidents involving two separate women, police said.’
Following Weinstein’s arrest, many were celebrating. I mean, an abusive rapist went to jail. Isn’t this the type of justice that the #MeToo movement has been seeking?
Well, the answer to that is complicated. Yes, we want to put away these abusers and have the law acknowledge the atrocities these men have committed. But, the overall goal of the #MeToo movement is to not only take down these men, but to change our society; a society where rape culture has become normalized. A society where women are encouraged not to speak up at the risk of ruining a powerful man’s career. So, don’t let Weinstein’s arrest fool you into thinking all of our problems are solved.
Yes, this may be a small piece of justice for some of the women who have accused him. It may be a symbol of the tides turning and society slowly moving towards the change we need.
But, for a man like Harvey Weinstein, this arrest doesn’t mean much.
Weinstein is a rich, powerful man. His reputation may be ruined. But his life isn’t.
He won’t sit behind bars, having to contemplate how he got there. His abusers won’t have the peace of knowing he is in jail.
One of his accusers, Annabella Sciorra, tweeted, “The law finally caught up with Harvey Weinstein on Friday and charged him with multiple counts of rape and sexual assault. But nothing about that felt celebratory to me.” She’s right.
In fact, Weinstein swiftly paid his $1 million dollar bail with a check. He even reportedly walked out of the police station with a smile on his face. The fact that Weinstein can walk away so easily, back to his privileged life, is indicative of a culture where men are allowed to walk away. Apparently, the justice system will bend to you if you have enough money.
Especially in Hollywood’s predatory rape culture, where men take advantage of their powerful positions, men will be able to walk away. The powerful men of Hollywood know that despite the horrible things they do to women, their lawyers and money will take care of it.
Apparently, you don’t even have to be a famous film producer to rape women and then get to walk away scot-free.
In 2016, Brock Turner was sentenced to six months in prison after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside of a Stanford fraternity house. He only served three of those months.
The entire country was outraged at how easy Turner got off, after committing such a horrible crime. The judge claimed to believe Turner’s account of events, in which he was given consent, and also did not want to “impact” his successful swimming career.
Yeah, I know. All of this is beyond frustrating and it begs a thousand questions.
Why don’t people believe women, even when the truth is transparent? Why do these men get off so easily after ruining their victims’ lives?
That’s simply what it comes down to. Our legal system seems to be letting off all of these powerful men with only a slap on the wrist. It really makes me wonder if our society places more value in men’s reputations and careers, than in getting justice for the affected women.
There’s no simple answer to any of these questions. A big part of all of this obviously has to do with the prevalent rape culture in our world. Women have time and time again been reduced to the status of sexual objects.
We live in a culture where consent is not given enough importance. It seems almost as though some men are under the impression that they are entitled to women’s bodies.
If it did, wouldn’t these women be getting the justice they deserve? Wouldn’t men be forced to feel some remorse for their actions and not just be able to walk away?
Arresting the predators in our society is only the first step in a long line of change that needs to happen. For real change to occur, these men would have to actually rot in jail, not walk away with smirks painted on their faces. These men would have to truly be held accountable for their disgusting actions.
In order for real change to occur, we need to change the conversation. We need to teach the people in our society about consent, about valuing women and simply about how to treat another human being. We shouldn’t only deal with this issue after more people are victimized. We need to get ahead of this problem.
The real win for women will come on the day that justice is actually served. The real win is a legal system that value’s women’s lives and stories, more than a rich man’s money.
Women will win when they never have to go through this again.
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