Time is Out for #TimesUp


Photo from Pixabay

Story By: Loren Marcotte, Reporter

Though movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp are right in saying that something needs to be done about sexual harassment in the workplace, they do more harm than healing by implying that the progress that needs to be made in eliminating sexual harassment, begins only with men taking responsibility for their actions.

Most of us have been harassed at one point or another in our lives. As a skinny, gawky, young girl, I always desired to be in the presence of those intellectual mentors in my life who had the potential to have a positive influence in my success. I always thrived beneath the umbrella of wisdom I felt these older, highly-educated types offered me, compared to that of my own peers.

As a college student with a preference for older men, I had plenty of opportunities to learn what the word consent meant; but this meant I had to also experience what it meant to not give consent. I had to understand what it meant to be raped, molested, groped, pinched, or have unwanted advances made towards me to be able to decide with what degree I react.  

Did I say no? Yes. Did I always mean it? Well, no… not every time.

There were plenty of times that I rejected certain sexual advances long after I consented, because I felt as if I was being pressured into doing something I was not comfortable with. And even though I had said “stop,” I wasn’t forced to continue, and had not done anything to assert myself in meaning it.

Was I ever left feeling used and taken advantage of, as if my verbal rejection to sexual advances had no value? Most certainly: people expect to have our boundaries respected. I have had more than a few opportunities to press sexual harassment charges in the workplace, at school, and in social settings; but I felt as if I took matters into my own hands in a more effective way by making my harassers aware of their degree of misconduct.

There are sexual behaviors that should not be chalked up to a male “just being a guy,” especially when their offenses follows a history. There are men who are aware that their sexual predilections come with consequences in society, yet continue with their behavior. Often, these are not the kinds of sexual predators who seek out resources to rehabilitate themselves, as much as they seek out their subjects for prey: we should certainly call these types of offenders “bad men.”

But, there are also those men who do stop when you say no, even if they don’t immediately understand their misconduct. There are those guys who did not know you didn’t want to be touched a certain way, because he did the same thing during a past date that the woman didn’t have a problem with as you did: we call these types “people who made a mistake.” And mistakes happen.

The #MeToo and #TimesUp movements seem to present no purpose other than acting as an echo chamber for victims of all types of sexual abuse and harassment to unleash their angry into. It is a common ground where their individual experiences combine like flames to feed a greater torch, like hunters for witches – except this modern-day witch hunt has been fueled by Hollywood.

I realize that many victims don’t get the chance to defend themselves. There are true victims who deserve to confront their abusers and harassers, just as there are those accused who deserve to have their behaviors appropriately accounted for.

Neither of these situations require the lynch mobbing we’ve seen grow out of in Hollywood through movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp.