Due to a combination of social media and EC’s title IX training, statistics surrounding rape and sexual assault are well communicated and largely known by EC students. For anyone who may not be survivors themselves, it is not hard to see the amount of survivors who have to show up as we do and pretend as if their trauma is not a constant weight on their everyday lives.
All people who are not survivors need to do better. Whether it’s calling out harmful behavior, boycotting harmful speakers and media, or even going so far as to cut important but toxic people out of someone’s life.
When we allow our language, or worse, our actions, to normalize sexual assault or even try to justify it we create a culture that not only accepts rape, but encourages it.
Rape culture is what happens when men in fraternities let their “brothers” take a girl who has clearly had too much to drink up to their room.
It is when politicians suggest “grabbing them by the p*ssy” is an acceptable means of getting a woman to do what men want them to do, and see no repercussions.
It is a culture that demands that men remain silent after being sexually assaulted because coming forward wouldn’t be manly.
It is when our sisters, daughters, mothers, cousins, teachers, role models, heroes, and best friends say #metoo in droves and the rest of the population remains silent.
It is hard enough to bear the weight of the trauma that survivors do, it is even harder to come forward. I believe that true justice comes from how we treat survivors of trauma more than anything.
Even if a survivor does not choose to pursue their perpetrator, how can they ever recover and how can we, as their loved ones or even as decent human beings, say we love them when we see them say #metoo and we ignore them or even deny their truth?
Last weekend I saw women I have looked up to from the moment I met her say #metoo. Some of the strongest women I have ever had the privilege of talking to disclosed that they too have been traumatized and all I could be was mad.
I have never been a neutral party in my life under any circumstance. I have made myself clear in this regard from all of my columns, and all of my personal interactions. I recognize that this is not a view shared by everyone and while I disagree, it exists and I have to accept that.
What I cannot accept was a uniquely deafening silence from my male friends while their loved ones confronted what might be the hardest thing they have ever had to deal with. This, more than anything else, is not a time to remain silent.
You should look at your brothers with a contempt and disgust unmatched by any other. Just one #metoo status should send you spiraling.
I have never been good with understanding how institutional change is made, especially concerning rape culture. It is an abstract idea that exists in social constructs, not necessarily political ones. This requires abstract and social solutions. This means that personal sacrifices might have to be made to realize justice.
Criticize this culture, criticize your friends. It is hard, but sometimes difficult conversations need to be had and sometimes relationships need to be severed if it means a future where culture is not built on the mistreatment of and sexual violence against women.
The end of #metoo starts with you.