I have thought about writing on this for a while now, however, my thoughts on the direction of the submission continue to change. Today, I am grappling with the people making excuses for the predator’s behaviour. “It was a different time” just isn’t cutting it with me.
Here’s the thing — yes, it was a different time. For some things, this actually has some merit, little, but some merit. I’m talking about things that didn’t inflict physical harm. So, telling off-color, inappropriate jokes was more accepted. It was never right. So, telling an inappropriate joke in mixed company made someone uncomfortable, even 50 years ago, it was just not acceptable to say anything about it. Dinner parties where the boss hugs all the wives of his employees (yeah, cuz they were mostly male employees) was more accepted, yes. It was probably often done in a friendly and appropriate way. It was, however, also done in an invasive, predatory way and made that recipient of the predatory behaviour uncomfortable. It was a different time–that’s for sure.
It was a different time because there was nothing and no one to back up someone who complained or turned someone in for this unacceptable behaviour! You lost your job. Or it got worse. You were bullied. Your husband lost his job. You were labeled in an entire industry as a troublemaker. So, you looked the other way. You tolerated the bad behaviour. It was also, truly, a good ole boys club. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.
So, while we’re chastising women for coming out with their stories “years later” and saying “it was a different time” and “oh, the poor men, it’s like a witchhunt’ and ” we’re taking away their masculinity”—why aren’t we holding ALL those that knew what was going on for not standing up and saying something? People knew about just about all of it. Ignoring it, is supporting it, it’s participation. It’s even worse if they ignored for a promotion or some material possession. Completely unacceptable. OH, now you’re going to say what about them losing their jobs…..well, hmmmm if you expect the person who was violated to step forward, certainly that applies to the witness….I mean, possibly even more so!
It was a different time. A time when women had less of a voice. When women had less power. When women were barely past being able to vote and being the property of their husbands. Sexual harassment and sexual assault have never been okay. And it is not only in one industry, so stop that “go get another job” bullshit! My sister-in-law is a teller and had to deal with it from a customer just last fall. Should she find a new career?
It. Happens. Everywhere.
It is still happening. It happened to my daughter in a job at age 19. And you know what, no one stood up for her.
So, while it is probably uncomfortable for people to hear all these stories and it seems like men are just getting attacked left and right for being predatory, it really isn’t the same as actually being attacked. It isn’t the same as being not so far out being owned by your father or husband. We should all be feminists. We should all be fighting for the equality of everyone.
It makes me wonder why the women who sit around and say “oh it was a different time” or “it’s because of the porn” or it’s because of whatever, say all these horrible things and attack people already dealing with a horrible situation. I am beginning to think it’s probably mostly because it happened to them and it makes them feel better to think it was a different time. Or the people who knew it was going on—it makes them feel better for not standing up for what the knew was wrong!
Start with yourself. Then start with your family. I have always raised my kids to do the right thing, even if it means you stand alone. I am sure there were times in their childhood where they took an easier path, because none of us are perfect, for the most part they did what is right, they stood up when they needed to and put themselves on the line, to help people in need. They were also raised to get consent. We all need to stop letting things slide. It’s uncomfortable to call someone out on their bad behaviour! It’s not easy to tell your friends and family to stop calling their neighbor that they’re complaining about “the Mexicans.” How ever the neighbors are behaving is NOT about their ethnicity! I know this because I have the same issue and my neighbors are white! Stop laughing at jokes that are inappropriate. Stop acting like it’s okay when your 50 year old friend gawks and leers at some teenage girl or young woman. It’s creepy and gross.
Doing the right thing is rarely the easy thing!