Why did these women wait so long to tell their stories?

There are a lot of women coming out of the darkness and telling us about how they were abused, assaulted, and harassed. There are a lot of people who are saying that these things happened a long time ago and why didn’t these women come out sooner with these allegations.

Come on people! The reason a lot of these women didn’t come out sooner with this information is varied: some of them were children when these things happened, some of them did try to tell people and were not believed then, and almost all, if not all, were dealing with men who were way more powerful than they were and who scared them into staying quiet; as evidenced by the fallout from them coming forward now, they weren’t so stupid to keep things quiet at the time.

It is way past time to stop blaming the victims, and start holding the perpetrators accountable for what they have done. We need to change the culture in this country (and indeed the world) to one where people don’t believe “boys will be boys” is a good excuse for anything.

Women (and men, too) need to know that this is not acceptable behavior, and need to be comfortable coming forward with the truth about what happens to them. As long as people feel justified in doing what they are doing because “they have always been that way,” or because “men are expected to do these things,” things are not going to change.

And people who have been the victims here have got to be believed when they come forward. But that means that the few people who falsely accuse others of bad behavior also need to be held accountable. There are not many who accuse falsely, but there are enough so that there is a seed of doubt planted whenever anyone comes forward. To all the false accusers, I say knock it off. You are doing no one any favors by falsely accusing, and you make it more difficult for those who have really been assaulted to some forward.

I am not the first to say this, and am pretty sure I won’t be the last: this is a power thing, not a sex thing. It often plays out as a sex thing, but it has little to do with sex and everything to do with power.

What does it say that so many women have been touched (so to speak) by this power dynamic?

What I am asking for is this: women, please stop falsely accusing (the few of you who do), and please believe the many who speak up who have legitimate reason to. Men: there are many good men out there – you outnumber the jerks for sure. However, the jerks get all the press, and if you continue to excuse their behavior, you are, indeed, no longer one of the good ones.

We live in strange and interesting times, when a man accused of being a pedophile has a chance at winning a senate seat against a man who prosecuted the people who killed children in a bombing motivated by race. Think about that for a while.

And, for the record, women who have come forward to tell your stories: I believe you.

 

1 comment on this post.
  1. Nance:

    Thanks Judy! I believe those women too. It is not something you tell because you want attention or pity. It is because you have (again, for a variety of reasons) have come to a time when you are able to tell.
    I was 28 when my uncle forced his tongue in my mouth, but I did not tell because he was adored by everyone and he was visiting the family and I didn’t want to spoil the visit, so I just pushed him away and gave him dirty looks any time I saw him. That was a long time ago. Maybe in the current climate I would have been able to tell. I hope so. I did not tell anyone about my father molesting me for so many reasons, including that I was so young when it started that I couldn’t consciously comprehend what was happening. Yes, this is all about power. And a note about false accusers: I know they exist, but my heart tells me that they are in the extreme minority.
    When we were in LA recently we ate at a (close, and recommended by the hotel staff) restaurant called The Pink Taco. It was just a block away, and we were hungry, so I didn’t really think about the name until we got there. As soon as we walked in I started to hurt for the female waiters for having to wear tight clothes and work in a place with such a “wink wink, aren’t we naughty?” name that was so demeaning. I had to say something, so I told our waiter that we loved the food and the service was great, but the name of the place made me sad and angry. She called the manager over for me, and he really listened to me and he understood my position. He said he’d had reservations about working there for that very reason. He’d even discussed it with his mother. I told him this would be a great time for them to change the name of the place. It would be good PR, I think.
    Regardless of what happens with The Pink Taco, I changed that night. It was like I had a veil lifted from my eyes and I could see all of the seaminess that I pretended was no big deal all of my life. I can’t pretend any more. I can’t ignore it any more. I am grateful for all of the women who are standing up right now, and I wish that I had stood up sooner.

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