People from all quarters are venting their moral outrage upon Harvey and now Bob Weinstein. ‘Oh, those Hollywood (and presidential) types.’ Can I get a “tut tut” please! But women don’t need righteous outrage when the villain is more than five victims in, has a public persona and financial prestige. Women need men to tackle all the Weinstein’s. The mini ones who lack the fame but who transgress women every single day. These are the Mini Weinstein’s that society silently condones. Until that is acknowledged and resolved by men, Weinstein’s will continue to flourish, whatever their public status.
Harvey Weinstein is not a monster of Hollywood
Harvey Weinstein is not a monster of Hollywood. His type exists in all walks of life. On a daily basis, there are women somewhere suffering at his hands. From the city doors to the factory floors. Over 50% of women have experienced a sexual offence at work. And those offences have doubled on the trains and Tube in five years. But society has created an environment where such men can flourish.
I know many will be shaking their heads and referring to the dusty Dignity At Work or Sexual Harassment policies. Documents used at induction but then largely ignored. Those policies cannot work while men castigate women for men’s wrongdoings.
For a start, society does not believe women. I have outlined the case in a earlier post. So, if the climate is one of disbelief, would you be inclined to report something?
Men Exploit Women
Let’s say nonetheless a woman makes the complaint. What happens? In the case of model Ambra Battaliana Guterrez, the New York Police Department wired her and caught Weinstein on tape, red-handed. The District Attorney had the charges dropped. And when Alice Ruggles reported her ex-beau stalking her, the police issued a police information notice. Just 12 days later, he slit her throat from ear to ear. The IPCC is now investigating.
Women who complain also face humiliation in a pincer movement. Men make belittling comments like she ‘asked for it’ in the case of those considered pretty. Or she’s ‘too ugly, should be grateful’ for those not seen as attractive.
In either case, it is fashionable to blame the woman or girl for the action of the man. Ambra Battaliana Guterrez says the Press regarded her sexual assault as a publicity stunt and modeling agencies closed their doors to her.
And that threat of loss of employment also prevents women from reporting Mini Weinstein’s. The victims are also vulnerable for other reasons such as age, lack of experience and personal shame. Shame is often overlooked, but it is a powerful tool in the perpetrator’s arsenal.
It’s A Man’s Job To Stop Weinstein
So, what’s a man to do? Men should become good allies. They should believe women and refrain from making humiliating comments. Intervene if they witness unwanted sexual advances. And sons should be taught that low-level disrespect to women such as catcalling is wrong. And although this is a man’s problem, women have a part to play too. We need to report perpetrators. For as long as we are silent, they think they can get away with it. Together we can tackle the Mini Weinstein’s and so help prevent the big ones by creating communities where their behaviour is not acceptable.
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