Before you accuse me of “victim blaming”, hear me out.
Sometimes I listen to stories of sexual assault and even as a woman, and a mom, I walk away with a feeling of confusion.
I get it, no means no. (agree) Quaaludes and roofies are bad, and illegal. (agree) And people in power shouldn’t use their position to exchange sex for favors. (It’s morally wrong. Should it be illegal?)
In the case of R. Kelly, it’s all bad. I believe any young girl, no matter how “fast” she is deserves to be protected and nurtured, not slut shamed. I’m mortified at anyone who says otherwise.
The Bill Cosby case is dicey, there is enough blame for everyone. That married man had no right drugging women and committing adultery and assault. He was wrong and currently resides exactly where every rapist should be, prison. I do, however, feel as though the women in this particular scenario aren’t blameless. Why would a woman enjoy the company of a married man in the privacy of his home? What were they thinking? Or expecting? Bill Cosby deserves jail time because he drugged women before engaging in sex, taking away their ability to consent. I’m not referring to those women. I’m talking about the women who he had sex with who later cried sexual assault because he used his position of power to entice them into a sexual relationship. I wholeheartedly disagree that this is sexual assault and takes accountability away from the woman to make informed and moral decisions.
Harvey Weinstein is another confusing character to me. I read through countless accusations of him actually raping women. There is enough of a consistent narrative to substantiate that he is a sexual deviant who uses his position of power to forcefully rape women. I’m not disputing that. In fact, he should go to jail forever. I am confused, however, about why so many women were raped or assaulted in his hotel room. One woman, Paz De La Huerta, asserts that she was raped on two separate occasions by Weinstein. Dominique Huett said he performed oral sex on her and she didn’t want it. She says that she didn’t know how to say no to someone like him. It’s a mixed bag with Weinstein. Some women were actually raped and others used their vagina to further their careers and are now screaming “rape” in hopes of securing a financial payout. It’s these types of women that diminish the testimonies of real sexual assault victims.
How come it’s wrong to ask these women Why were you in Harvey Weinstein’s hotel room? Is that really victim blaming? I’ve been to plenty of job interviews and castings. I’ve never been to any in a hotel room, especially with anyone with a known history of using their power sexually to influence my career professionally.
Why is it wrong to ask How come you waited so long to come forward? A lot of the women who slept with Weinstein and Cosby benefitted from a sexual encounter with them. Maybe these women really weren’t attracted to these men and given other lucrative options wouldn’t have had sex with them. Truth is, a lot of these women had a choice, benefitted from that choice then cried sexual assault later because they could benefit financially in this new progressive era of “Me Too”.
In an era where women fight to be equal and demand not to be handled with kid’s gloves, it bewildering to see otherwise powerful women hide behind fragile femininity when it’s convenient. It’s important to educate both sexes on sex values and respect. Males should be taught to respect women and understand the concept of “no”. It’s not just our girls that deserve protection, our boys need to be protected too from the likes of Asia Argento, who used her influence and wealth to entice a 17-year-old boy. Her husband later settled with him in exchange for his silence. Girls should be taught they are valuable and worthy of respect, how to say no when they are uncomfortable and the importance of owning their decisions.
Weinstein is a rapist. So is Bill Cosby. Asia Argento is a pedophile, like R. Kelly. Nothing mitigates their behavior and each of them should be held accountable. The “Me Too” conversation is a very important one because it brings to the forefront a conversation that’s been swept under the rug for too long. Now, it’s time for the conversation to evolve and for victims to understand prevention and their power in protecting themselves. A conversation about education and prevention shouldn’t be confused with victim blaming. It’s possible to advocate for justice against sexual predators while encouraging others to protect themselves at the same time.