Content warning: Sexual harassment and abuse, rampant rape culture
I keep watching as powerful man after powerful man is accused of some degree of sexual violence—be it harassment, sexual assault, or serially preying on young people. Some of these allegations of sexual predation are more disappointing or more disturbing than others, but none of them are remotely surprising. They don’t surprise me, because I have memorized the litany of enabling excuses we make for men my whole life.
When they’re 5, and boys harass girls, we’re told, “Honey, he just likes you.”
When they’re 12, they tell us, “Boys will be boys.”
When they’re 16, we’re often reminded that “Girls mature faster than boys” so we can’t expect them to treat us with dignity.
When they’re 20-year-olds in college, their violence is shrugged off. “One youthful indiscretion shouldn’t ruin this boy’s life.”
When they’re 35 and don’t know how to interact professionally with women at work, we are told “Don’t make a fuss if you wanna move up the ladder” or “You don’t wanna get a reputation.” That’s right. Our reputations are at stake if we name the harassment we face.
When they’re middle aged, we must “Consider all the GOOD he’s done.”
When they’re old, we can’t expect better because “He’s from a different era.”
When they’re entertainers or athletes, we are shamed. “You’re just trying to get money/rich/famous.”
At all stages of life, we are blamed. “What did you do/what were you wearing/how much did you drink/but weren’t you flirting?”
I live in a world where men’s unwanted sexual advances are always to be understood or withstood. Continue reading “#HimToo: Why I’m Not Shocked At All”