Anyone hearing the sheer proliferation of ‘Me Too’ reports finally being spoken out loud, and the ensuing removal of high profile, powerful men in a variety of industries, as a direct result of these complaints, could be nothing but shocked and appalled. However, we are also feeling a huge sense of relief, that some truth is finally surfacing and justice appears to be coming, to repeat offenders who have misused their power over women. The wonderful thing I believe is that this justice, has side stepped the often harrowing, expensive, soul destroying experience, of a women having to take such complaints through the legal system. A sad fact, but non the less true.
These men, through the sheer amount of complaints made against them, have lost their positions as CEO’s and top executives, their careers as actors and news readers and even their own companies. This has happened as the company they are directly involved with, scrambles quickly to alienate themselves from the accused; who they have all to often turned a blind eye to, up till now. This is despite the fact, that those same company’s refused in the past, to believe or act on complaints made by women, and so in reality, allowed those predators to continue sexual assault and misuse of power over women in their business. In my mind making them just as complicate and responsible for the behaviour.
However at least this action, even if it is obviously self protecting, has got to be seen as step in the right direction. As a result of this public out pouring of hidden pain, shame and rage at the injustice that women experience in this world, we are left to consider what can be done to change this culture of abuse towards women. It appears that in no small way, the media may hold the key to setting the record straight, by allowing the truth to come out and by being a part of the naming and shaming of men and the industries that allow this behaviour to continue. I have also recently heard discussed the idea that the ‘Me Too’ movement should be taught in schools.
Lets look at some of the facts of sexual assault in Australia where 1 in 6 women over the age of 15 has experience sexual assault and these can be easily compared to that of America, South Africa and most every other country in the world. Just because women feel that there is a hint of possibility, that a reported sexual assault crime may result in justice prevailing in Western Cultures, does not mean that rape or sexual assault is not as high in societies where women have fewer human rights and would get little support from police, family or their society.
The facts of rape and sexual violence in Australia, tells us that a girl aged between 10 and 14 is the most likely victim and women aged between 15 and 24 represent the second largest category. (taken from Police data) Older women were also found to have experienced violence and abuse at a higher rate than older men.
A staggering 93% of these offenders are men (Australian Bureau of Statistics Recorded crime offenders, 2013-2014) and most women are raped by men that they know!
These rapes or assault most frequently occurs in either the victims own home or that of the rapist, in private, with no obvious signs of trauma, no witnesses, leaving it all but impossible to prove! How can you prove that a guy didn’t think he had consent? In fact over 70% of sexual assaults are carried out by family members, friends, work or school colleagues and a further 29% happen by someone a women has met socially or on a date.
Staggeringly only 1% of rapes are committed by Strangers!
(NSW Rape crisis executive officer Karen Willis)
So when people ask the question whether a ‘Me Too’ program needs to be implemented in schools, the answer has to be OF COURSE! It appears obvious that this problem has to be addressed very early in men’s lives, when they are developing their values, that will guide all of their future choices and decisions. This topic needs to be discussed openly and the media needs to play a huge role in changing the mind set of men’s attitudes towards sexual abuse.
Finally the government needs to look at the pornography industry and be honest about who this industry helps and who it harms. Is a companies financial gain, a human right greater than the women who are raped or sexually assaulted as a result of the material they produce? It is time that women finally are given some respect and protection, and are no longer seen as sexual objects for the pleasure of perverted men. Sex without love or a relationship, is selfish in the extreme, purely for self gratification and represents a misguided belief that the mans sexual needs, over ride the needs for consent or the human rights of another person.
“the effects of sexual violence on the individuals (and their immediate social and family network) can be devastating and long-lasting. Victims/survivors may experience a combination of effects, including emotional, social, interpersonal, educational, vocational and financial repercussions.”
(Adam Craycan Director, Australian Institute of Criminology January 2001)
Being fortunate it would seem, to have never experienced sexual assault myself, it makes me feel saddened to my core and sick in my stomach to be confronted with these statistics. What kind of a world do we live in, where men can treat women so badly?
YES IT IS TIME FOR THIS TO BE OPENLY SPOKEN ABOUT, FOR THE TRUTH OF RAPE AND SEXUAL ASSULT IN OUR WORLD, IS SOMETHING WE ALL LIVE WITH AND WHICH EVERY DECENT HUMAN BEING WANTS TO BE STOPPED!