This month has been like riding a roller coaster while on fire. In recording this through the theme of #MeToo, rape culture and toxic masculinity, September has forced me to look at my own history. It has forced me to look at the men in my life as well.
The #MeToo Movement is needed and necessary. It’s a specter now. An omen of the times we are in. Y’all are going to need a drink or a snack.
I advise you get one.
I suppose I have the book of the month, Eloquent Rage to thank for adding to the this motivation. In the book, Dr. Cooper tells how she once considered herself a womanist (as I do), before she affirms herself as a Black Feminist (See the chapter called Capital B, Capital F.). She said to be a womanist, as Alice Walker coined, you have to do one thing–love women. This goes to believing their trauma, being a support and valuing them. This seems simple, but in a world and social climate where women are not valued or pitted against one another, this can be more complex than thought.
In the face of Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Cosby and a choucha-grabbing POTUS, my emotions have run the gamut. With Bill Cosby, I have been confronted with two things which can be true, may be true at the same time:
1.) William Henry Cosby is a sexual predator. He did these crimes at a point in social history when what we now identify as rape culture was just them ‘having fun’ or ‘partying’. Among the women whom have accused him, some have been found to be liars–Beverly Johnson and Janice Dickinson. Supposedly, all this came about because he tried to buy NBC. However, I am fond of this saying, “Everybody can’t be lying about the same thing.”
In speaking to the women and men in my life, the thread I have pulled is this. “These women knew that Bill Cosby was married. Why would you put yourself in this situation?” I stand by that. Not as an excuse for his behavior, just as an observation.
Then again, I had the upbringing that told me to watch myself, the men that were interested in me and their motivations. Little things like: buy your own drinks; don’t leave them uncovered; don’t go see a man you don’t know by yourself. Where this may be seen and read by some as victim-shaming, or reinforcing toxic patriarchy. However, this is one of the gray areas the feminism I need to ‘fuck with the grays.’ I was taught to be pro-active. In being pro-active, clearly, something happen to #MeToo. Those women could have gone to see him naked, and unless they gave consent, they should have left in the same condition they came in.
2.) Rape culture is trash. Doubting victims of sexual assault is trash. Lying about rape is trash. Lying about rape to get paid is trash. It’s trash AF. This makes it harder for women and men whom have gone through trauma to come forward because it’s easier to discredit the victim. Rape, molestation, any form of sexual assault is a crime that is proven by either evidence or hearsay–as horrible as that is! If no one sees it happen, who’s to say it happened? That is the scarier portion of this gray fuckwithable portion.
This is why valuing women is important! If you value someone, the more likely you are to believe what they say! And these types of events may not be reported right away, and you cannot blame victims for not coming forward when you think they should! That’s trash. Powerful men, not just black men, need to be held to account for this type of behavior! If you’re going to get him, go get all of them for the same behavior. Make the standard fair!
Get the clergy that knew what was going on in their parish and said nothing. Get the bosses like Donald Trump. Go get all of them.
Male privilege needs to be examined! You can be a healthy, functioning man and never have to rape a woman. You can value a woman without ever seeing her naked, ever groping her, or ignoring her revoking of consent. Your penis ability does not determine you as a man.
We know there are women that offend as well. They need to be confronted as well–little boys need the same protection and empathy we give little girls. It’s trash not to do that. We also cannot expect those whom found a way to deal with their trauma to all come forward. Some never may. Or some may take until their children are grown before they even utter what happened to their parents. That, too, has to be okay.
I fully accept my role in the things that have happened to me. The things that I may just have to die with or may one day feel I can write about. In that space, from this vantage point, I can see the need for those that desire justice and acknowledgement to seek it. I also can understand why those whom find their own way to deal with this type of trauma never come forward or wait to tell anyone. I get it.
As this movement persists, you can see frightened former perpetrators looking shook. You can see the railing against what can be done to them now that they are exposed–or have the potential to be exposed. The #MeToo movement is not a necessary evil, it is a tool, it’s an arm to be used to acknowledge what has happened to some people. It’s a community that is supposed to foster activism. It needs to remain such.
It would be justice for Kavanaugh not to be confirmed. It would be justice for the POTUS to be proved for the horrid troll he is. It would be justice for the next young woman or man whom comes forward to be believed first–no matter how long it took to tell. It would be justice for the country to start valuing and believing women–cis and trans. It would be justice to believe women again. It would justice to believe a woman when she tells a suitor, “No” and she is left unharmed.
It would be justice to believe the young men that said they didn’t rape a woman to be proven and believed. It would be justice for women to own their sexuality without shame or forced chastity, where they feel they would have to lie.
But I, like Plato, do not believe true justice cannot be found in this world.
[images from Google, author screenshots]