Sexual assault: We must all speak up to stop the horrors

This editorial column written by Maria McCoy appeared in the previous print edition of The GRIP.

I read a news story this morning regarding Harvey Weinstein. I was shocked at the allegations against him, sure, but what shocked me even more was that this has been an ongoing issue for years in Hollywood and nobody spoke out about it.

We now have statements from Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie, Jane Fonda, Roseanna Arquette, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Beckinsale and a slew of other women who never spoke up. These allegations date back to the 1990s. For almost thirty years, women suffered under Harvey Weinstein, and for thirty years, these big-named Hollywood actresses refused to speak out about it.

In 2013, comedian Seth McFarlane made a horrendous joke while announcing the Oscar nominees.

He said, “Congratulations, you five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein.”

Hollywood stars made jokes about the sexual assault of actresses and others just guffawed like it was funny. Many actresses have confided that they did not report Weinstein because he was a powerful Hollywood producer and they were nobodies.

That isn’t even the problem here, not the real one. The real problem is that this running joke of sexual assault and rape was known by Hollywood actors, and not just the women it had happened to, and nobody spoke out.

Why is that? Because we have created a culture where we excuse bad behavior. We have rapists spending thirty days in jail. We have college athletes who get a slap on the wrist when they have raped somebody. We have celebrities and NFL players who get a pass due to their wealth (anyone want to talk about Ray Rice? No? Okay, let’s keep the bus moving).

Through our actions, and yes, our inactions, our society is teaching girls that they do not matter enough.

Are you sure that’s what he meant by that?

Are you sure you didn’t like him, even a little?”

Didn’t you willingly go to that hotel room? You must have known legitimate meetings wouldn’t be held in hotel rooms.

Are you sure it wasn’t consensual here and now you’re just mad?

How many ways can women be punished for the lack of control, or the willful choice, of a man who wants to assault them? Do you know how many sexual assaults are reported and not prosecuted? Here is the very real, very ugly reality – out of every 1,000 rapes that are reported, 994 perpetrators will walk free (RAINN, 2017).

A person is more likely to be prosecuted and imprisoned for robbery than for rape. This is why women do not speak out – because what’s the point? We have conditioned society so well that sometimes even teenage boys do not realize when a girl is not consenting.

Let me be clear – I fully understand that both men and women are raped, and that men and women both commit these acts of rape and sexual assault. I unequivocally denounce all forms of sexual assault and rape, no matter what gender the victim and perpetrator are. However, the bigger audience here is female based – 91 percent of victims are women and nine percent are men, but even though I am speaking towards women, please know and understand that I include all victims of all genders in my writings.

Sexual assault isn’t acceptable and it isn’t excusable. If a girl, at any time, shows reluctance or says no or even acts like she doesn’t want to do anything, as a man who is traditionally more able to overpower based on body sizes and strengths, you need to back up.

You need to stop, 100 percent of what you are doing and back up.

Consent can be withdrawn at any time.

You need to stop trying to convince her or cajole her to have sex with you.

Back up.

Think of it this way – if you were visiting a foreign country where their main food was raw cow brains and you refused repeatedly, but those brains still got into your mouth, would you feel violated? Of course, you would.

Now let’s change the fact pattern a little bit. What if you decided, “Eh, I’ll only live once, so, sure, I’ll try it.” However, when you get the raw, mushy, bloody brains in your mouth, you decide it really isn’t for you, so you try to spit it out, but they refuse to allow you to.

In fact, they insist that you continue to eat the raw, mushy cow brains, even after you try to stop.

I’ll say it again – they refuse to let you open your mouth to spit the brains out. You must endure these cow brains until you swallow them because you have no choice. They have now forced you to do something you did not want to do. This is not okay. You should not be forced to eat raw, mushy, bloody cow brains. Ever. Likewise, people should not be forced to have sexual relations. Ever. Regardless of the time frame; regardless of the circumstance; regardless of the relationship.

Lastly, break the silence. Speak up and speak out. Even if you are afraid and even if you don’t think anybody will believe you, speak up.

By keeping silent, people like Harvey Weinstein thrive. By keeping silent, more people will be assaulted, brutalized and raped. We have the ability, each and every one of us, to save another human. Never stop speaking up because this is the only way a victim wins.

If you need information or help, please reach out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

In honor of my cousin, Destiny. #BreakTheSilence

 

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Comments

  1. tolleystopics says:

    I could say that our country is becoming void of morals. I could say that, but the timing would not be accurate. Our country began its moral decline December 19, 1998. This happened when our 42nd POTUS, Bill Clinton, was impeached on two charges, perjury and obstruction of justice. A two-thirds vote (67 senators) was required to remove Clinton from office. Fifty senators voted to remove Clinton on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted to remove him on the perjury charge. No member, Zero, Zilch, not even Uno of the Democratic Party voted guilty on either charge. Remember…children who were only 10 years old, little fourth graders, would graduate from high school while this abuser of women still reigned as our POTUS. Yep….there you have it folks! If the president can rape, molest, abuse and belittle women and be protected by his wife …it is COOL, right?
    -Sheila Tolley-

    • Well said!

    • Think you skipped a couple of generations for the moral decline of the “good ole USA” which was never great by the way, except maybe for the majority. But back before & including those Jim Crow days our so-called Christian & so-Called patriot founding fathers, confederates & slavemasters were raping their slaves…daily. So-called patriots raped their slaves & repeatedly forced them to bare their children. In fact you have a lot of the slavemasters mixed children from RAPE walking around right now next to you daily. They’re probably your mixed cousins too. There’s never been anything moral about America because unChristian, self-entitled men ruined it from the beginning when they stole it.

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