When we see all that is wrong in victim blaming and calling our offenders people who make mistakes, we may not realize how many more voices are missing in this discussion. What price will this have on the real lives of women who have suffered already?
It breaks the heart when we weep in silence with nowhere to go. Countless women fear retribution and feel as though they are under the thumbs of their abusers. Our voices are silenced, as our offenders carry on in health, wealth and even in stealth in many cases.
When I hear and read of local and distant abusers who are making money off careers unrelated to harassment or those built on harassment, I can’t help but speak out against those who dare tell our society that these men are OK guys, they’ve reformed and they are in treatment.
Be rest assured, if a woman so much as defends herself from verbal, emotional or physical violence, she will pay, sometimes more than a man who steals stationary from the job site or robs a bank.
Who will speak for the women
Maybe it’s time many women gather to speak out against anyone who defends the cause, reason or slip of a man who cannot control his manners and ethics.
Harvey Weinstein, and others like him, prey on women’s vulnerabilities. It’s a shame when women loose their careers because of harassment from men, who then go on to receive promotions or even better careers. It’s shameful when it becomes socially acceptable to demean women.
We can not deny that men in the entertainment industry promote discrimination by how they pick their actors or select their words, or that male peers in other careers have encountered sexist attitudes at home, on the radio or TV, or in the workplace right in front of our faces faces and then carry that attitude on by these reminders that it’s OK since it happens in other workplaces.
Even while more people speak out in various ways, such as using the hashtag #MeToo, men like Weinstein carry on, live well and further succeed in the same or different careers, while only a few will actually feel the full brunt of the law. At the same time, women, with wrecked careers or otherwise, are left in ruins desperately seeking a reprieve from the poverty status in which they live.
Justice for those who dare to harm
I think there has come a time when all men who offend need to pay up.
In the case of the entertainment field, abusive men need to pay all that they earned and will earn, including pensions or company profits, to new organizations that help women regain substantial careers and decent compensations, or go straight to the slammer to stay until they are too weak to offend again.
In the case of men who offend victims on the job, be it in the entertainment industry or other careers, they need to pay their direct victims just the same, regardless if the suggestion above applies or not, or go straight to the slammer.
Not just men
And women who enable or assist these abusive men, or otherwise add to the degradation of women’s lives, need the same or similar consideration of the law to strongly send a message that no matter what the gender, we do not harm women.
I have viewed several reports on Weinstein’s suffering, and other comments in his favour. Just this morning I had to tell a male stranger at a common gathering place that his “joke” about me was not appreciated and would not be heard again by me, especially since the subject of his comments was how a close friend of mine disappeared or died. I had him this time, because the people at this particular place are decent and diverse.
That’s another rare, positive moment in my life, though I did not complain in case of false feelings and no longer go to that place, where the attack happened in a dark alley back door area before those people running the place arrived. There is a growing lineup to wait to get into that place each time, I just don’t know if this man really learned his lesson, or just felt he was at the mercy of better people.
Recently we learned that Winnipeg ranks 17th for women’s leadership, education and other life matters, as reported in a study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. Now that tells you something. We need to do better.