One of the counter-arguments in the whole Harvey Weinstein saga that keeps seeping through social media as more celebrities speak up against the disgraced Hollywood producer is: why didn’t these women come forward years ago? Why not before the New York Times investigation and the public outcry that followed?
Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow were among the heavyweights who on Tuesday alleged the movie mogul sexually harassed them over the years, The New York Times reported. But the comment section was abuzz with people blaming them for not speaking up earlier.
That’s why this particular response from a NYT reader has struck a chord:
Here’s a transcript of the comment in full:
It is disheartening to see so many comments already blaming women for not “speaking up.” Please count yourself lucky that you’ve never had your career on the line based on whether or not you sleep with your boss. It has nothing to do with fame and riches; this happens to women making minimum wage in retail as well as women who fought through it to become CEOs.
The psychology behind this kind of thing is not that complex, so please spare a moment to consider: Not only are these women made to feel humiliated and embarrassed, but in some cases if they had come forward, they not only would never work again, they also would be seen as whiners and “too sensitive.” Both Jolie and Paltrow fended him off. Imagine if they made a big stink about it. They would have been ripped apart in the media! “Oh for goodness’ sake, a dirty old man came on to you. You rejected him and moved on, why the fuss?”
But, of course, now we insist on blaming them for “perpetuating” Weinstein’s behavior. Please. The amount of cognitive dissonance it must take to blame women for their own persecution is astounding. Note that the comments have not centered around Brad Pitt’s not saying anything, though he knew about it with not one but TWO romantic partners.
It is not the women’s job to monitor men’s behavior. We are doing the best we can with what we have to survive in a world that depends on our subjugation.
As Mashable’s Angie Han explained in her article, there are 3 main reasons why Harvey Weinstein’s victims find it so difficult to come forward:
Women are made to feel ashamed for not fighting hard
Women are threatened into silence and punished for speaking out
The authorities aren’t always helpful
Bear this in mind before launching a witch hunt against victims of sexual assault.