In the wake of Harvey Weinstein, #MeToo, and the absolute deluge of victims finally feeling like people might listen, this Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards will be a little more serious than usual. With many actresses (and actors) planning to wear black in solidarity against sexual harassment, the Time’s Up campaign (accepting donations for legal defense) on full display, and host, Seth Meyers’ commitment to tackling the issue — hopefully by just bringing these two on stage
to take over — women are making it known we’ve truly and finally had enough.
The New York Times, which reported on the Weinstein scandal, and how his years of assault, abuse and rape were covered up, will run a quietly powerful ad during the awards show — which they’ve already released on YouTube, and you can watch now:
It’s short, simple and effective; campaign creator, Julie Matheny explained “… using language that has been used to silence women in the past and turning it on its head was a simple way to show the clear distinction between the way the world was merely a year ago and the way it is now.” But what struck me about the “He said, She said” repetition wasn’t that there were so many victims coming forward, but rather how very sad it is that society requires so very many victims to band together, just to be heard. It’s the main reason so many victims are afraid to come forward — not being believed, or being put on public trial before the perpetrator — and it’s part of why it took so long for Weinstein and other abusers to be publicly outed. #BelieveHer isn’t just a hashtag, it’s a mantra we need to repeat to ourselves and others, over and again, until the stigma and shame of reporting assault, rape, harassment and abuse fades away.
Even now, even after so many high profile women (and that powerful actresses have hidden attacks for years should tell you just how deep the insecurities about being believed, or being responsible, or being ashamed run) have come forward with their stories about Weinstein, Toback, Halperin, Spacey, Piven, Dick, Cosby, Hoffman, Ratner, Westwick, Knepper, Weiner, von Trier, Sizemore, Masterson, Stallone, Simmons, Lauer, Keillor, Singer …
You get the drift. We all know — we always knew. We just didn’t believe.
If ever someone tells you they’ve been assaulted, raped, sexually harassed or abused, believe them. They’re already scared, hurt, ashamed, and wondering if you will. Give that person the voice they need and the power to tell their story, so we can turn around this culture of victim-blaming, and needing multiple victims to band together just to be heard. We can do better, we can take back the power from those who use and abuse, and we can let the Harvey Weinsteins of the world be the people who slink away in shame.