By now, we’ve all seen the alarming headlines and read the disturbing stories about Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood mogul accused earlier this month of sexual harassment. It’s beyond appalling and disgusting, and I’m left with some very big questions. Perhaps the biggest question of all: Why are women’s voices still being silenced in 2017…? Why are women still not being believed??
All too often, women are silenced. They’re told to “be quiet” and to not rock the boat. It’s everywhere and sometimes insidious, from the time we’re young and told that little girls are polite and proper. By the time we’re teenagers, we’ve internalized those words to mean that “good girls” don’t stand up for themselves — or, even more damaging, that good girls don’t get themselves into those types of dangerous situations in the first place.
Plus, everything from Bernie Sanders speaking at the Women’s Convention to Twitter temporarily suspending actress Rose McGowan…it all highlights a culture steeped in making women feel ashamed, as if they were second-class citizens, as if they were somehow “less than.”
I don’t have the time or the patience for that kind of archaic thinking. I hope you don’t either.
This week, I’ve been reflecting a lot on the #MeToo social media movement and its powerful impact. I’ve read courageous stories from people coming forward and am in awe of their bravery. This, at long last, is just the beginning of the conversation.
Personally, I’ve been stared at and pointed at and trolled on Twitter, but that’s all, which speaks to how society views women with disabilities. So, umm, I’m thankful for my disability, I guess? Though being glad you’re disabled because then you won’t get sexually harassed is an issue unto itself.
Carly Findlay, my awesome writer friend and disability activist, said it so much better than I could in a recent Facebook post…
Disabled women are often regarded as asexual or de-sexualized – or seen as sexual objects existing only to abuse. The de-sexualization of disabled women makes me lucky, I guess, not to have experienced some the horrific abuse others have, and I really struggled to recall the times when things said to me might have been sexually loaded. While female friends are wolf-whistled or cat-called at — this has never happened to me. I’m stared at but not in a lustful way.
So what can we do? Where does all this leave us? For starters, we need to listen and believe. We need to create a safe space for women to use their voice without fear.
[Photos via We Heart It]