Post#: 279-18 – Words: 1384 – Audio: N/A
I am not necessarily directing in the title of this post to the #MeToo organization itself in whatever form it currently is, but rather using that as a generic symbolic reference to the current movement by women… and men… in presenting their stories of sexual abuse to the world. Recently the Kavanaugh selection process has brought that to the forefront with at least one accusation that he committed a sexual assault 36 years ago… when he was 17 and his alleged victim was 15.
From my TV vantage point the accusation (and some others) simply created a firestorm at a time where the fire of discontent and politics-run-amok was already feeding a broken judicial selection process in the Senate. Between pissed off senators, pissed off women, and a pissed off judicial nominee, it has been a total TV nightmare, not to mention a complete nightmare to those people living it in person. We all know where the selection process, the reason all this came together in the first place, will go and that will likely be toward the nominee, Kavanaugh. This wide-ranging emotional process could very easily go past the end of the Senate confirmation with the continuing #MeToo struggle on top of the already huge tribal disparity against and for Kavanaugh and Trump in general.
The “elevator confrontations” between some abused women stating their case to a couple captive senators walking down the hall rather illustrates the problems as abuse women and men make their feelings known about the victims of sexual abuse. Also… you can include that bit of a fiasco by the committee senators getting an outside female rape prosecutor to address the questions to alleged victim, Dr. Ford, rather than the committee members enduring the image of a group of old men ganging up on a rape victim.
When these high profile social issues come to a head they do generally take on a life of their own. Now, this doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t, it just means that it’s a kind of social process that unfolds in various phases.
First is the “make them aware” phase. This is when the victims of some social or political shortcoming gets presented to the public. In this case, sexual abuse and the associated embarrassment in being a victim and being unable or unwilling to report the abuse because of the stigma or embarrassment. This is the phase we are currently in. It’s the in-your-face” (literally in some cases) of telling the nation “this is what’s happening to us”. The stories grab our attention as the media grabs the stories. Accusations fly around, and in the case of #MeToo, there’s also the added accusation that if anyone, specifically men, ignore the stories, dismiss the pleas, etc. then they are part of the problem.
A second phase might be the “exploration phase” where we collectively acknowledge there’s a problem and we struggle to reach some understanding in ways to reach a remedy. This is a tough stage usually because the people involved in the first “make them aware” phase are generally hoping for quick action… a fast fix… Congress should drop everything and take a vote on something. The second phase just looks like a bit of a disappointment to the victims in regards to getting a quick fix to their issues; their problem isn’t going to go away anytime soon.
A third phase might be some positive action on some part of the issue. In regards to #MeToo it could be simply more women running for public office. That’s likely going to be a big deal in the upcoming two election cycles, although that will also be fed by anti-Trump sentiment as Trump himself is a symbolic representation of misogyny. In this phase there could be some Congressional action, or more likely the state level, to create laws to introduce some legal equity toward women of sexual abuse, maybe some stiffer punishment to the abuser, maybe some changes in workplace law.
Those initial phases may continue on.. or not. Most certainly these phases could take years. But likely the main piece of the problem will not get resolved at all. In the end, sexual abuse falls primarily against males. We are in the middle of the “make them aware” phase and there’s already an uphill battle in getting men to understand that there’s even a problem.. and they are a prime cause of it. The other end of that is that women don’t want to even hear that this might be some instinctual offshoot of male behavior since the beginning of our species on this planet (to which women contribute to according to their own instinctual predilections). To them it’s simple.. “Men, it’s all your fault. Just keep your zippers up and treat us with respect.” Problem solved.
It ain’t that easy.
The problem itself as I perceive it is a bit multi-faceted…
1) I was sexually assaulted,
2) I couldn’t report it for fear of embarrassment or the stigma affecting my life (career, etc.),
3) As a result I have to live with the trauma,
4) I ended up with mental health issues from the event and THAT has affected my life.
This fits whether the victim is male or female, and not all victims of sexual abuse progress with all four of these points. Example.. some victims experience the first point, “I was sexually abused” and they reported it, justice was served, and they went on with their life relatively unaffected. The thing is, each of these points is in itself a sub-problem requiring its own solution, remedy, fix, whatever.
There is something missing from our Phase 1 “Make them aware”… at least so far.
We all know we live in an instant information society and 24 hour news cycle. We get actual news, then almost immediately it’s being discussed and opinionated by the talking heads of the various cable news media. That’s the main reason critical thinking on our part is so important in order to filter out conjecture so close to learning the objective news. But what is missing are the science people in all this. Maybe that will be part of the second phase as this unfolds. But what is needed is a deeper reporting with input from talking heads that are actually psych professionals and professional behavioralists to help us break down the elements of the problem. But we aren’t likely there yet because we have to first fully recognize there is even a problem… and it’s looking like a male thing.
So much has come out with celebrities and politicians getting their careers terminated by female accusations.. and so often now men trying to come to grips with being responsible for female problems (many rightly so), most guys are not sure how to behave around women in social environments, how sensitive men are supposed to be when women discuss sexual abuse in general, or even how a bunch of old senators can ask questions of a victim of abuse and not be stigmatized in some unknown way to female voters. I’m not even sure if there’s some universal definition of what sexual abuse is; guys are afraid of even opening their mouths for fear of being accused of lack of sensitivity.
Take those ladies that confronted Sen. Flake in the elevator for example. They had their minds made up that Flake should not vote for Kavanaugh on the accusation alone by Ford. No question they had their own abuse stories to tell and are rightly emotional over the issue… but at that time there was no investigation to even suggest a Kavanaugh guilt. But they needed to tell their story to someone who would listen, and that has become as important as the Kavanaugh selection itself.
It might help to advance the cause… promote the awareness, if there were a greater national organization in order to build up some credibility and respect-to-the effort. The effort has to be all-inclusive as well, and open for discussion and not judgment, and open to broad solutions and not some singular judgment (It’s all men’s fault). Form a platform, a strategy. Grass roots is what this is all about. The problem is real… so get real. The stories are real so make the effort real.
My other sites… if you’re interested…