My throne will be unassailable/ I will take back my future/ crown myself with trembling hands/ blood under my nails/ I will raze the foundations of chess boards/ my queendom young and hopeful/ gunfire and flashing metal behind my eyes/ a revolution still rioting beneath my skin/ watch me conquer
-“Warrior Queens Don’t Rest Easy”
Poetry by Alyssa Diamond
*Featured Artwork by Paige Busick
Victims Expose Truth, Society Stands in Solidarity
Written by Ignacio Villar*
One out of six American women are victims or rape or attempted rape in their lifetime. One out of 33 American men are victims of rape or attempted rape in their lifetime.
Victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault that come forward are often made to look guilty. Most of the media and the defense attorneys twist behavior and words to make victims appear to have wanted it. They paint victims as spurned men or women out for attention and money. They do this to protect the more important person. What these media and attorneys ignore, however, is the psychological effect that this has on the victims as well as other young people afraid to come forth with accusations. Kids, teenagers and young adults who face this type of abuse are made to feel like they do not matter. They are made to feel that they are nothing more than something for perpetrators to look at and touch.
Sexism is the treatment of a gender as inferior to the other. It belittles and makes a joke of the other gender. It is also a personal statement from the person performing the sexist act or making the sexist comment that they are more important, that they matter more just because of who they were born.
As of Dec. 22, there have been at least 50 men in power accused of sexual misconduct this year. As soon as the allegations arise, the accused are forced into three types of responses: denial, silence or admission of guilt.
With the recent number of women coming forth with allegations
about abuse and harassment against multiple men in power, the question of sexism once again arises. What is proper workplace behavior and what constitutes harassment? Former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein has allegations against him from numerous women, varying from harassment to rape and involving women as powerful as Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow. The question of whether or not Weinstein’s allegations against him are harassment is clear-cut. Utilizing a position of power to force people to do something that they don’t consent to is definitely harassment. It is abuse of power and sexist. It is part of an outdated patriarchal society that needs to be replaced by an egalitarian one.
Acclaimed actor Kevin Spacey has allegations against him as well. There are accusations that date back to as long ago as the 1980s, allegations that he would touch young males without permission. That he would use his position of power to sexually harass young males. Accusations arose Oct. 29 concerning how Spacey made unwanted sexual advances on a then-14 year old actor Anthony Rapp in 1986. Spacey decided to post a tweet on Oct. 30 stating how he apologized for his “inappropriate drunken behavior” as well as deciding to address the rumours of his personal life, ultimately coming out as gay.
After actor Dustin Hoffman was accused of sexual harassment Nov. 1 by Anna Graham Hunter, he released a statement declaring how “[he has] the utmost respect for women and feel[s] terrible that anything [he] might have done could have put [someone] in an uncomfortable situation,”and how “it is not reflective of who [he is].” The harassment included unwanted gropings, unwanted sexually explicit language and sexist behavior on the set of Hoffman’s 1985 film Death of a Salesman. This was followed by sexual assault allegations dating back to the 1980s from Variety, Dec. 14. Hoffman had no response toward those allegations.
Accusers usually have to number in the double digits before people start believing that maybe, just maybe, this celebrity really did prey on them. This isn’t right. Accusations need to be taken seriously as soon as they are made. They cannot be excused as a “drunken mistake” or an act “not reflective of the type of person” the accused “really is”.
Comments like writer/director Woody Allen’s (a man with his own alleged dark past), that the investigation of Weinstein could lead into a slippery-slope of “witch hunts for a man who winks at a woman in the office” (CNN), are wrong. These comments undermine the progress that society tries to make in regard to addressing male behavior. Hollywood and the workplace have been horribly out of date in regard to the treatment of women. Power in the office does not mean that one can take whatever one pleases; it does not mean that one can bully men or women with threats so that they can have what they want; and it especially does not mean that they are more important on a human level than those that work for you.
In college athletics, investigations of violence against women are often secondary to the accused’s athletic output. For instance, Baylor University, according to The Ringer, had a lawsuit stating that 31 football players carried out 52 acts of rape in a four-year period, with another lawsuit alleging that gang rape would be utilized as a bonding ritual. The University of Oregon kept Kavell Bigby-Williams on its roster throughout the 2016-17 season despite allegations of rape and 38 pages of evidence in support of said allegations. At the University of Oklahoma, Joe Mixon was suspended one year (utilized as a redshirt year to maintain four years of eligibility) for hitting a woman with enough force to break her jaw. In 2015 there were 44 active National Football League players accused of sexual or physical assault. College athletics and professional sports are not “giving people a second chance”. No, what this is is condonement. They are saying that as long as the athlete shows up on the field and perform, they’ll protect him off of it.
The hashtag campaign “MeToo” was recently popularized in an effort for people to share their stories relating to abuse. Former gold medalist Olympian McKayla Maroney shared her story, how she started being abused when she was 13 by former United States Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. This starts a conversation. This allows people to comfort each other and understand that it is not their fault. It is not the fault of the victim, it is the fault of the aggressor. It is the fault of the aggressor who thinks that the lives of others do not matter. It is the fault of the aggressor who thinks that what they want matters more than what the victim does not.
President Donald J. Trump has his own sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations against him. He also supported Alabama Republican candidate Roy Moore in the state’s gubernatorial race. Moore has allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault against him (CNN), with several Republican politicians having stated that they could not in good conscious endorse him for the gubernatorial seat (CNN). Alabama’s Sen. Richard Shelby (a Republican) said on CNN, Dec. 10, that “[he] could not vote for Roy Moore”.
The need for power has led certain politicians to support candidates teeming with allegations against them. Some leaders have become so far removed from society that they think that gaining power and maintaining it is a reasonable price for their soul. The reckoning for this abhorrent behavior is here, and what these leaders must keep in mind (since they do not appear to actually care about victims) is how they will be remembered in history. Which side will they be on, and what do they want their legacy to be?
To correct sexism, one must have a concerted effort from all genders. It can’t just be women that see something wrong and champion a course of action to fix it; it needs to be everyone. One needs to stand for what’s right. If one sees this behavior but does not put forth any effort to stop it, then they are allowing this to go on. National speaker, rape survivor and hero Brenda Tracy “puts the onus on [football players]” (The Ringer). From a young age, girls are taught how to prevent rape, what Tracy pleads from football players and men alike is to get involved, get educated and help prevent these egregious acts of violence.
Society needs to finally draw the line. People need to stand up and say that this is not right, that physical or artistic skill does not pardon abhorrent behavior. Sexism is not a joke that one can laugh-off. Sexual harassment and sexual assault is not something that one can just shake off and move on from. There needs to be programs in place at schools that teach young men the proper way to behave around women. There needs to be programs in place at schools that show young women what to do if they are violated in any sort of way. There needs to be accountability from society’s members to stand unified against sexism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.
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