So, why didn’t she just tell someone she was sexually abused…raped…harassed…discriminated against?
I’ve been going through my computer files looking from something from 2014. Haven’t found it, but I did discover this essay I started in September 2015.
I vaguely remember writing something about the Bill Cosby thing. While I have been fortunate not to be a victim of sexual assault, I lived through sexual harassment, discrimination, and a feeling of being powerless. It was a life-changing and lonely experience.
Now here we are in 2017 and the lid has blown off of the whole subject of women who found themselves on the losing end of power struggles with highly successful, influential, and powerful men. Now, in 2017 we have the “MeToo” social media campaign which allows women (and yes probably some men too) to proclaim in writing with two simple words that it happened to them. That is a powerful thing to do.
This is what I wrote. It’s lightly edited, but I think worth posting.
I look forward to the end of divide and conquer!
Our favorite actor, social commentator, comedian, and philosopher about how young people, especially black young men, should live their lives is discovered to be a longtime philandering husband. That is a matter between him and his wife, until it becomes global headline news about how he paid young women money to hush up the whole thing so his wife wouldn’t find out. Then the storyline develops, and we hear that many women were forced into a sexual relationship with this powerful and rich man, but they didn’t tell anyone. Years later, as society becomes more open to hearing the voices of women who accuse powerful and accomplished men of sexual misconduct, regardless of how much money, fame, or power the woman has, the truth begins to slowly be told. Empowered by the discovery that it didn’t just happen to “me”, other women begin to talk out loud to the public and to other victims about their experiences. And the question becomes, where were these women all those years ago? Some say, how convenient it is to bring it up now so many years later. Why didn’t they just say something when it happened?
Any woman who lived and worked through the 70s, 80s, and even into the 90s knows why. The whole situation seems unbelievable and disgusting. The guilt of being so helpless along with the common knowledge that rich, powerful people have more resources and lawyers to help them out of a difficult situation encourages the woman to hide the truth from others. No kitchen table talk with girlfriends. No conversations around the dinner table. Just internalized fear and anger. The best ally a man has in this situation is the fear that drives women not to talk to each other. In this case that fear subsided and the talking has begun. Could this have happened earlier? Apparently not. There is so much embarrassment, fear of being pushed out of jobs, considered difficult, damage to personal family relationships, and just a lot to lose by chatting it up with others about the behavior that most find so inappropriate that it is easier to just not believe it. Divide and conquer turns out to be a pretty effective strategy for a repeat offender.