Dear Mr. VP,
You may not know this, but over the last several days a campaign has taken over social media. The idea is that women (those who self-identify or those who were assigned female at birth, though they may not identify as such) post the hashtag #metoo if they have ever been sexually assaulted or harassed.
Oh, the mixed feelings.
Awareness is important.
But, I don’t feel like people should feel pressure to re-traumatize themselves by publicly sharing information about harassment or assault to prove to men that this is a fucking issue. If men aren’t aware of misogyny, assault, and harassment as issues, they’ve literally never left the house or watched television or talked to anyone, and/or are too busy with their noses in r/TheRedPill to look up and check out their surroundings.
Secondly, how many people have I talked to in the past few days who are questioning whether what they’ve experienced “counts” or “is real” because they’ve been taught that they’re just supposed to be grateful they haven’t been raped, or if they have been raped, they’re supposed to be grateful it wasn’t “too violent”, or if they were violently raped, they’re supposed to be grateful they aren’t dead.
Or, as I said to someone yesterday: “I’d just like to not be thinking about how grateful I am that I’ve never been straight up clear cut raped and instead “just” had some questionable sexual encounters, occasional unwanted groping, salary discrimination, and garden variety street harassment.” Further thinking adds things to that list like, “Oh, and that time an ex-partner verbally berated me for refusing to sleep with him after we’d broken up” and “Oh, that time someone physically blocked me into a room and made me finish an argument I didn’t want to have” and “Oh, that time TODAY when someone posited on my Facebook wall that women who weren’t assaulted by Harvey Weinstein might/should feel bad about themselves for not being desirable.”
So, this all feels a bit like breast cancer awareness month, honestly, trying to make people aware of something they’re already aware of, or should be aware of unless they’re willfully unaware (which is probably the case here). The issue isn’t lack of awareness. The issues are inaction, complicity, misogyny, and patriarchy, and given the deafening silence from most of the male-identified people in my Facebook feed, I can’t really see things changing.
And, of course, there are other reasons I can’t see this changing:
Rapist-in-chief there, and:
You won’t eat alone with women in case we’re too tempting to resist.
If that’s what we’ve got at the top, how are we supposed to feel like things are changing? We can’t even feel safe.