Analyzing #Metoo

Survivors share their perspectives

BreAnna Crawford, @Lyniece_

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When actress Rose Mcgowan came out with sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein in 2017, she kickstarted the major growth of the #Metoo movement. Women then came together on social media to finally tell their stories about their own experiences with sexual assault.

The growth and consequences of this movement lead to many men in the entertainment industry being held accountable for their actions against the men and women they allegedly assaulted. By holding men accountable, costing them their jobs and often their livelihoods, a new standard of what was acceptable had been set — or so we thought.

Last month Bill Cosby was criminally sentenced from 3 to 10 years in federal prison for drugging and raping a multitude of women throughout his career. Then, in the same week of Cosby’s sentencing, Dr.Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh aired out their sides of a sexual assault Ford alleges Kavanaugh was a part of in the 1980’s. After an FBI investigation, limited in its scope, failed to corroborate Ford’s story, Kavanaugh found himself sitting on the Supreme Court.

Within a short period of time, the Cosby sentencing and Kavanaugh’s confirmation bring to light two completely different outcomes and perhaps the limitations of the standards set by the #MeToo Movement for a handful of reasons.

Initially people tend not to believe survivors like Dr. Ford due to a lack of corroboration and their inability to remember all of the details surrounding an assault. However, both are common as sexual assaults often occur with few witnesses and trauma can impact memory.

In comparison to the physical trauma of a sexual assault, the psychological symptoms are “much less visible and can, in fact, be completely hidden to others,” said marriage and family therapist, Dan Beaver.

Rape Trauma Syndrome is a medical term given to the response that most survivors have to rape, said the therapist. Loss of memory, anger, depression and confusion are some of the symptoms that most survivors can suffer from.

“It’s important to understand that people respond differently to trauma and while most survivors will experience these symptoms, some may only experience a few or none at all,” Beaver continued. “We must be careful not to judge whether someone has been raped by the number of symptoms that they display.”

While many have chalked up this current moment to a return to skepticism of survivor’s stories, others have looked to the impact race has on holding people accountable.

An LMC student who did not want to be identified, finds herself considering two parts of her identity when she thinks on this moment.

“When it comes to me, I have two different perspectives — one as a survivor and the other as a black woman,” she says.“As a survivor, I am glad that women are speaking up and that Cosby was convicted.”

However, when it comes to her perspective as a black woman she can’t help but notice how white men aren’t held accountable as often as black men.

“As a black woman I feel like there were so many other men accused of sexual assault like Trump, Harvey Weinstein, Vincent Cirrincione and many other white men, but because Bill is black he was given a harsher sentence,” she continued.

It should be noted that Weinstein has faced repercussions. When he got arrested back in May he paid $1 million as a part of a bail package and has been required to wear a monitor to restrict his travel.

Though the LMC student is more than happy women are coming forward, she also acknowledges there must be room for skepticism and considerations of ulterior motives impacted by race.

“So many black men have been accused of sexual assault and have lost their lives or been imprisoned. For example Emmett Till,” she said. “Sixty-three years ago Carolyn Bryant accused him of sexual assault and he was killed because of it.”

A similar occurrence recently happened in early October when a women named Teresa Klein accused a 9-year-old black boy of sexually assaulting her while she was shopping. The video went viral of her claiming that he grouped her but the footage showed his backpack grazed her behind without his awareness.

Another LMC student named Roshanna Newt also views this moment as an awakening.

“For me this has opened up my eyes to the men who control a lot of these industries and what power they actually have over women, or what they they think they have over women,” Newt said.

For the #Metoo movement, now is the time more than ever to push the agenda against sexual assault and accountability. If more people continue to share their stories it can give a voice to the few who may feel as they are silenced, or ashamed of what happened to them.

If you or someone else needs confidential help or support, you can find confidential help at Rainn.org or call the National Sexual assault hotline at 1-800-656-4673 which is available 24 hours every day.

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