Without digging too deep into my memory over the last three months, I can recall three prominent men who have been accused of rape/sexual abuse.
Would I be going out on too much of a limb to say that there are more accusers and abusers that have not come to light?
Historically, a man in a prominent position did not necessarily mean famous, rich or the cultish leader of a well-intentioned group. He may have been a school teacher, a father, a brother, an uncle, a grandfather, a babysitter, a doctor, a neighbor.
A man in a prominent position may have been so to the raped simply because he was a man and she was—by all social standards—unable to cry for help and justice.
And here is where I have scratched out a much-needed positive take on modern day sexual abuse allegations.
We are able to cry out—loud and clear—with social media often serving as our loud speaker. We have waited long for this, the freedom, the space, the voice, the courage. It is not perfection, we face our detractors still, but we do stand brave more often now, because we live in a revised social climate of we can.
Bravo to the women who have stood up and yelled, whispered, sung, written their anguish in a public forum.
Men stand in solidarity with us: not some men, many men. Men opposing the abusers who still fail to understand that to hurt a woman is to hurt the world. I am grateful for these brave, insightful souls. There was a time when it was unthinkable for a man to out another, to take a woman’s word without the usual accusatory speech about her dress or her manner. We have come so far, let us embrace the men who have made the journey alongside us.
Worse than a man’s accusation that a rape was perhaps the victim’s fault, is another woman’s accusation or judgement.
Let us face this.
We have not always been that kind to each other. In my talks with others who have faced abuse, the hurt of another woman’s doubt and rejection after rape cuts deep. And I am seeing, in these cases of accusations against prominent men, that women are facing their fears more frequently and speaking out. Their courage paves the way for others who for many reasons could not face their accusers alone.
Social Media has made hiding sensitive stories impossible: Social media may not always serve us well, and we have the power to hurt or uplift each other in greater scope these days, but overall, it is a way for us to unite in spreading news, good or bad.
Stories are disseminated with lighting speed, and one would literally have to be living in a cave to remain unaware of what’s rocking the news waves. Even I, who avoids newspapers and newscasts, cannot avoid my Facebook timeline. By simply connecting to my near and dear ones, I am sure to view what is currently on the minds and hearts of others.
When it comes to exposing a hurt, social media is the new town crier. And it may be the only way to find that other person who was abused by the same perpetrator. It’s also a great way to become a united voice.
Bravo to all those who keep their public comments supportive and kind. In this new world of fiercely open discussion, we are still finding our feet when it comes to constructive commentary.
We are entering a period in history where exposing rape is now the domain of the public: it’s no longer hidden in dark corners and firmly kept secrets. The road is still somewhat bumpy, but overall we can agree that silence is far more damaging than speaking out.
And so with these positive gleanings from such dire circumstances, I stand united with every woman who has experienced that moment when a man we look up to, or any man for that matter, extends his hand to take what is not his. And with you I shout no!
I lend a finger to point at the perpetrator, and the courage to speak out against them. This is a humanitarian issue that crosses culture and gender—it’s not only one regarding unwelcome attention of men towards women.
This is about kindness, respect, and love for our fellow creatures.
Cyndi Lauper says it all for me in the video below. True Colors. Let yours shine.
Author: Monika Carless
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Wiki Commons