By Meghan Mullon
Last week, when a discussion amongst acquaintances veered into the territory of politics and the news cycle, I heard something that stunned me. Out of the blue, one man said, “I feel like it’s not a coincidence that all of these harassment accusations are coming out now. This is a systematic attack on men. Now they’re playing the victims to get attention. It’s sick.”
Let’s get something straight. The allegations that began with the alarming expose on producer Harvey Weinstein are not the beginning of this phenomenon. If anything, I hope these accusations are the bookend of the forced suppression of women and the outright complacency of the men who protect harassers with their silence. For ages, women have been taught that their objectification was complimentary and that their presence in any personal or professional realm was sufficient only to the extent that it served the male gaze. Why isn’t that considered the injustice here?
Likening the influx of harassment and assault allegations to McCarthyism or a witch hunt is the exact reason that women have not come forward before. Even now, there are women who cannot share their experiences for fear of having their reputations ruined. Many even fear retribution from their assailants. These instances of abuse happen every single day to countless women. As a matter of fact, it goes even deeper than just women: most members of marginalized groups suffer from different forms of harassment. The only difference is that now people are finally paying attention.
To say that all men are guilty of this would be ignorant. I know plenty of good men who don’t harass women. But please don’t expect to be lauded for
taking the most basic steps to be a decent human being. Take action: stop objectifying women in your conversations, even in private. Hold others accountable for their words and actions. Respect women as fellow humans, not just as they relate to you in your personal life. With these steps, you can help create a safer, more inclusive environment.
This is the opinion of Meghan Mullon, CSB senior