The Year After Harvey Weinstein
We are fortunate to be living in a key historic and political moment. Now, more than ever before, women are inspiring and empowering one another to take a stand against chronic patriarchy. Some of the most powerful men in the world, including political leaders, news anchors, sports coaches, and Hollywood’s “finest,” have been accused of a series of sex crimes. JERK will choose not to list these men, as it is not the predators that should be named and remembered, but rather the victims of these vicious acts.
Ironically, there is an increasing sense of humanity that has stemmed from these revolting offenses. Stormy Daniels—an adult film actress who was paid off by the president’s former lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, in order to remain silent about an affair with President Trump—revealed her story with transparency, clarity, and shamelessness. Regardless of the intrinsic discrimination that many people hold against those in the pornography industry, we have decided to really listen to her. This is a monumental turning point in feminist history. Stormy Daniels, to reiterate, is an adult film actress. This profession usually doesn’t garner much sympathy. However, she unapologetically stood up to the utmost powerful manon the face of the planet—the white, male, heterosexual President of the United States of America.
However, there is much to be said about the freedom Ms. Daniels possesses—for her to be globally televised on 60 Minutes, telling her uncensored side of the story. We are extremely lucky to be a part of a nation that allows individuals to publicly denounce the president, while there are parts of the world that reject even the conversation of sexual assault.
Today in China, the government has censored the media to limit the spread of the #MeToo Movement. According to The New York Times, as the “letters by the women appeared this week on social media, censors went into action, banning the English #MeToo hashtag on social media sites and deleting some letters.” In a valiant attempt to get around this censor, women and men alike have come up with code emoticons to get their message across China. That, too, was soon squashed. The bold women and men continued, carrying signs and wearing clothes that display this idea. However, the police went to their homes and made sure that they stopped the spreading of this crucial discussion, claiming that they are “stirring up trouble.”
It is extremely important that we use our privilege to spread this conversation in parts of the globe that do not have the freedoms that we do. We have learned from this inundation of allegations that sexual assault is more rampant than had been previously thought. We have also learned that even the seemingly invincible can be taken to justice if we speak up and work as a collective force. As future leaders, we must understand that sexual assault a deeply-rooted societal and institutional problem. Silence is complicity, and for that reason, we must use our voices for the good of humankind and the progress of our world.