This morning it was Matt Lauer. It’s a new one every day. It’s beginning to feel like this is raining from the skies. On one hand, this is exactly what women have been waiting for. FINALLY! Men are being outed right and left, up and down, everywhere you look, someone is being called out for their inappropriate sexual behavior in the workplace. And we all know. We all say, “It’s about damn time.”
On the other hand, this feels like a gross time to be a woman. Everywhere you look this is on the news. I had to turn off the Christmas music radio station in the car with my kids this morning because they were talking about more sexual misconduct by more people. I just wanted to listen to Christmas music.
And then there are those of us who have not only heard of these things, but actually experienced them, and we are legion. Every 98 seconds another person in the U.S. experiences sexual assault. For us, all of this hits harder, feels grosser, but also somewhat more vindicating, I guess. For us, it brings back the memories of the harassment or assault and all of the feelings associated with the event(s). And then, when we watch people opine all over social media about how accusers/victims/survivors should or should not report or behave, sometimes that feels more personal than we’d like it to.
One of the most publicized cases right now is the Roy Moore accusations. I’ve watched men and women go back and forth on Facebook and Twitter about why his accusers should or should not be believed. I’ve witnessed people lose their sense of decency and empathy trying to maintain allegiance to their political tribe, which they somehow get mixed up with their God. It has been confusing, embarrassing and infuriating to say the least to watch people automatically question the women accusing Moore and not Moore himself.
Why is scrutinizing his accusers and not Moore, himself, a HUGE problem?
Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes. In case you can’t guess why that is, here’s an article that explains really well.
So we have all of these reasons working against women coming forward to find justice for themselves, and then some women do come forward in a very public manner and it is all over the media. Mostly white, “Christian,” Republicans are questioning the character, motives and the validity of the story of these women.
Other victims of sexual assault are watching this. They’re waiting to see how the world reacts. And then they see the Facebook posts. They see the post of the guy saying, “Why did it take them so long to come forward if it really happened?” Or they see something that talks about women needing to cover up more and not put themselves in “bad situations” so that they wouldn’t be victims. Or, maybe, they see a post that says women need to just keep quiet about what happens in the backseats of cars for the good of everyone involved.
We read the horrible comments and judgments made about sexual assault victims all over social media about when and how and why victims should or shouldn’t come forward and in what way and in what outfit and with what lipstick shade.
And then, (and THIS is the tragedy) with all of this working against them, victims decide that they will never tell anyone about their rapist or sodomizer or molester. If the people they know on Facebook react this way, how will their small town react when someone well known and respected is outed for raping them or molesting their children? And now that rapist or child molester continues doing what he has already done to other women and other children because his victims are too afraid to come forward because those victims have continued to watch a society that engages in intense victim blaming.
But you! Look at you! You made your political Facebook post! And you stood with your party! You sounded so good and conservative and “Christian.” I hope it’s not too shocking to you when you realize that Jesus, himself, is not a Republican and is more concerned with dispelling shame, protecting the innocent and calling to repentance than towing a party line.