We Need #MeToo More than Ever. But Let's Never Forget #TrumpToo
The last two quarters of 2017 are proving monumentally important for women right now — both women of the past and those of the future. And of course, important for any men who have sexually assaulted or abused a woman in their lives.
Since the initial few allegations were made about movie producer Harvey Weinstein, including his shocking sexual assaults on women in the industry, hundreds of further reports have been made against other men, both in and out of the public eye. And so sprung the #MeToo movement.
It’s sort of ironic that the discourse on women and society’s apparent ownership of their sexuality is shifting, but it’s shifting under a president who himself is a prime example of what the fight is against. The fact Donald Trump was elected despite the sexual abuse and harassment allegations made against him says the unthinkable about society’s view of women and highlights why we need #MeToo more than ever.
The #MeToo movement is universal and groundbreaking for women and girls, and doubtless will be remembered as a monumental moment in the battle for equality against institutionalized sexism and for empowering sexual abuse and harassment survivors.
#MeToo started to take hold of both conventional and social media following a string of women who began to bring forward accusations against men of power in Hollywood and beyond. An unprecedented number of sexual abuse cases were reported internationally back-to-back, and were acknowledged on outlets like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube through the hashtag, #MeToo. The movement is meant to highlight how rife sexual harassment and abuse are, both in the workplace and in day-to-day life.
This is so important because so many people knew the abuses of power that were happening for years, and yet it was seemingly unremarkable at the time. Hollywood has joked about Harvey Weinstein for years, yet it took until now for people to really take the idea of him as a sexual predator seriously.
17,700,000 women have reported sexual assault since 1998
The #MeToo movement explicitly names and shames sexual abuse for what it is — a power play against another person that can leave permanent physical, emotional and psychological scars. The movement asserts sexual assault and harassment is not a victimless crime and stands in the face of intimidation and denial from Hollywood movie producers, senior managers and the patriarchy.
RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, reports that 17,700,000 women have reported sexual assault since 1998, and many of them experience PTSD as a result. Amongst those women are the 17 who accused Trump of sexual misconduct and assault.
Let’s bear in mind the US Justice Department says sexual assault is sexual contact or behavior without the recipient’s consent. Therefore the term “sexual assault” used in these women’s allegations against Trump refers to forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, fondling and attempted rape.
When the fifth woman accused Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual assault, Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell encouraged him to withdraw from the Senate race. However, with more than three times the accusations spanning over 30 years, the allegations against Trump somehow have not warranted as strong a reaction, even when Trump retorted that one of the accusers “would not have been my first choice.”
When Trump, in October 2016, was heard on an “Access Hollywood” recording boasting that he could “grab [women] by the pussy,” Republican leaders did speak out, but at no point did they move to defend any of the 17 women who reported sexual assault crimes by Trump. Neither did the politicians support the credibility of the reports.
the silencing of women’s claims must come to a stop
McConnell has refused to comment on this and, as it stands, the majority of Republicans on Capitol Hill and the voters also deemed these 17 women’s allegations forgettable and unimportant. Remember these names:
Temple Taggart McDowell
These women have come forward with courage against a man who has used his power for abuse for years, and was somehow still elected into the highest office in the U.S. In the zeitgeist of #MeToo, we need to revisit these claims.
Some online commenters have started the #TrumpToo discussion to re-assert that this must be talked about more. This individual, an obvious misogynist with little to no respect for women, is now considered the face of the western world. If #MeToo teaches us anything, it’s that fighting abuse of power and the silencing of women’s claims must come to a stop through holding abusers accountable — especially when they’re sleazy billionaires who somehow crept their way into a position of power that allows them incredible potential for harm.
About the author
Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Kate Harveston is a recent college graduate and an aspiring journalist. She enjoys writing about social change and human rights issues, but she has written on a wide variety of other topics as well.
She blogs on social and cultural issues at Only Slightly Biased.
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