That’s What She Said: Abusers lost in a crowd, but hopefully not for long
- Dawn Dumont | December 12, 2017
Just a friendly note to all abusers whether physical, sexual or emotional – you’re going to be fine. Although you may have become nervous because of the controversy swirling around Miramax producer Harvey Weinstein and the unprecedented disclosure of abuse by survivors all over the world, in all industries – don’t worry, there’s so many offenders that its unlikely we’ll ever get to you. It’s like they say, there’s strength in numbers.
There’s also no need to abuse the term “witch-hunt.” This phrase is oft thrown around when someone is facing accusers coming at them from different directions. But the term originated with the original witch hunts, way back when women were accused of witchcraft because they were healers, old, single, or maybe, simply because people wanted a better harvest – who the hell knows what the reasons were. You can find always find a reason if you’re in the mood for a good witch-fire.
So as a woman who is older and odd, I respectfully claim the term back. Witch-hunt is ours, pervy dudes, go get your own.
I have watched the evolution of this through the media, mostly social media. It started with the 2016 American election when sexual harassment and sexual assault were casually discussed over morning news. Mostly because President Big mouth has more respect for a golf club than he does for women. And also because Hillary Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, did things to a young intern that any court would call sexual harassment. Because both sides could use it against the other – the victims were put in the middle and after the election, were mostly forgotten by the media. But people didn’t forget and I think there was a collective promise that we would not allow this to happen again.
For the most part, courts have failed women who have been sexually assaulted. There are low rates of reporting, and depressingly low rates of conviction. So, survivors and their supporters have turned to the court of public opinion. Maybe that’s not fair – but neither is being raped and watching your offender walk away without facing a single consequence for it. It’s also not fair to be sexually harassed out of your job while your harasser continues to collect a paycheque.
A few weeks ago, the hashtag #metoo went around the world as women and men shared their experiences of being harassed and sexually assaulted. It was a hard time to be online as you read through the stories. It was not surprising though. As a woman, especially an Indigenous woman, I know that sexual abuse and assault rates are much higher than reported.
And with Weinstein, there are multiple published accounts of women being groomed and abused by a professional pig. I found Sarah Polley’s accounts of abuse in the film industry particularly compelling. She wrote about Weinstein but others also targeted her. She gave up acting because of the abuse. Anne of Green Gables gave up on her dreams: our Anne-girl, our redheaded termagent, gave up because men couldn’t treat her with respect in a place of business.
The sharing has had some effect. Abusers are facing consequences. Weinstein has been fired from his company and is being investigated for sexual assault. This month Netflix cut ties with actor Kevin Spacey.
But still, abusers, I do not think you should be worried. Because every day another account of abuse with a new name emerges, showing us that there are so many still out there. So many, that you can still rely on being lost in the crowd. But hopefully not for long.