Tarana Burke and the #Me Too movement (Courtesy of Business Insider)

Dear Editors,

In response to the article “#MeToo and Time’s Up become witch-hunt movements,” I would first like to point out that the term “witch-hunt” is an outrageously ahistorical term. Witch-hunts targeted young females who were not actually witches but who were more than likely displaying behaviors labeled immoral. The #MeToo and Time’s Up movements do not have ulterior motives. The movements are not about the men and women who are accused. The movements are about those who have been targeted and afraid there’s not a space to talk about what has happened to them. A witch-hunt is not at all descriptive of these powerful movements.

The author equates Rose McGowan’s tweet condemning James Franco for multiple accusations of sexual assault to being “judge and jury.” How is a tweet in any way similar to a judicial process? A quick Google search and a look at Franco’s IMDB page shows that this tweet from McGowan has not affected Franco’s career in any way. He has multiple acting and directing credits in post and pre-production that have yet to replace him with someone else à la Christopher Plummer’s replacement of Kevin Spacey in “All the Money in the World.” The author’s assertion that Franco did not have a chance to respond to these claims is totally incorrect. He responded to the allegations on “The Late Show” with Stephen Colbert and denied them. It would seem that in this case Hollywood has taken his word for it, as there have been no real repercussions as of this point for Franco. As for the similar argument against Kevin Spacey’s swift firing, from the multiple reports about Spacey, it seems to be that his actions were quite like the Harvey Weinstein allegations—a well-known secret in Hollywood.

The author claims, “The power has clearly risen to their heads, and they have lost their sense of responsibility along the way.” To whom exactly is the author referring? If the author is referring to the people making allegations, it would seem they are being responsible by telling their stories. In a way the writer is correct that this movement can be about power. When someone is sexually harassed or assaulted very often, this can lead to an extreme sense of loss of power. By telling their stories, these people may be able to take back the power from those who took it away from them. The movement is about empowerment, not about power over others. That is the opposite of what is happening.

The author is not wrong that there is a difference between harassment and assault. However, both harassment and assault create unsafe spaces. Comparing sexual harassment to “trying to show interest in someone perhaps gracelessly” is not an accurate comparison. Harassment and assault are both about power over the victim. The two movements discussed in the article should not be responsible for others conflating the two terms. The movement is about those saying “me too,” not about educating others on terms that, quite frankly, are not that easy to conflate.

Finally, the Leanin.org study does not seem to prove anything other than the idea that men are unsure of what constitutes sexual harassment and do not trust themselves to figure that out. If anything, these movements have stunted women from succeeding in the workplace. If men are afraid to mentor, attend business dinners, or go on business trips with women, as the study suggests, it would seem that these facts edge women out from important opportunities. To me, it seems the writer focused on the wrong part of these facts; we should be upset that men are worried about their own actions and, instead of educating themselves, seem more willing to just avoid women in the workplace. Sexual harassment is not new in the workplace. The only difference now is that the victims finally have a space that may seem comfortable enough to actually speak out about their experiences.

In conclusion, the ending of the article is abysmal and factually incorrect. No one mentioned in the piece has had their lives ended because of accusations. Weinstein and Spacey have both seen repercussions related to their jobs but have yet to see criminal charges. Similarly, none of the allegations mentioned in the piece have been proven to be slanderous or made up. To speak of fear for our society because women and men are finally speaking out about things that have for so long been taboo seems archaic. What exactly about this should we fear? Women live in a world of fear. According to a survey by Stop Street Harassment, 81 percent of women have experienced sexual harassment and 27 percent have experienced sexual assault. We should not fear a society where women call out abusers for what they are. We should look forward to a society where they no longer need to do so.

Sincerely,

Amy Wilkinson

Class of 2019

This article has 2 comments

  1. Wow. Thank you for being brave.

  2. Great article, but for you to suddenly preach fair treatment is rather hypocritical because I remember seeing you make fun of people of both sexes for the way they talk.

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