This morning I was driving and listening to the Breakfast Show. The Rumor Report with Angela Yee teased that a big-time morning show host had been fired. I wondered ‘who’ and kept driving.
Then the finally the bomb dropped. Matt Lauer, of the NBC Today show, was fired for workplace sexual misconduct. I felt something in tummy. Then Charlemagne opened his mouth to talk about how it is weird that he was fired so quickly. He basically insinuated that Matt Lauer might be innocent and that the wave of sexual misconduct report was false. That thing I felt in my tummy turned to anger. I changed the radio station.
Here is one thing that sadly binds me to millions of women; I have experienced sexual harassment. As a woman, sexual harassment crazy because it can be so subtle that you feel like you are thinking too much. It can make you feel as if your discomfort is your own fault and that the perceived advances are nothing more than your own imagination. Sometimes, the harasser is known for this behavior so you are expected to just ignore. The sexual harassment becomes your burden because it is now on you to avoid the person. As a woman, it is on you to keep yourself safe. You are constantly victimized because every day is another day of surviving the same shit you did yesterday.
So when men like Charlemagne sit on their high horses and want to create doubt, it makes me mad. It makes me mad because these men that are sowing seeds of doubts are probably perpetrators of harassment, too. It makes me mad because these men that dictate what is true are probably trying to cover their own sins too.
Don’t tell me that the women coming forward are wrong. Don’t tell me that punishment is too swift and unjust. Don’t tell any of those things until you can tell me how to reclaim time for the women who have been affected by this. The New York Times had a story about how one of Weinstein accuser, Annabella Sciorra, loss of her career potential due to sexual harassment. When I read that story it hit home because I thought of the many things women have lost because of sexual harassment. There is the self-doubt that creeps in because you are not sure how to handle the situation. There is the loss of trust and the inability to be at ease with people because you wonder who else is going to hurt you. There the loss of opportunity because you have stepped on the wrong toe if you fight to advances. If you are coerced and attacked, you start to wonder who knows. After the attack, you worry about your reputation. You ask yourself if your goals and aspirations in life are worth the price of constantly being afraid and on the age.
It is easy for men to talk about the “War on Men” because they have not lived their entire lives feeling unsafe. If there is a war on men, then women have definitely been living under sustained attack for a while. There is no war on men, in my opinion, I think we are experiencing a moment of reckoning. I think we are experiencing a wave of truth. I think we are seeing men grapple with the idea that women have power and they exercising it en masse. One of the things that is interesting about the stories we are not telling publicly is that they have been told privately for so long. A lot of these incidents have been swept under the rug as part of these men’s reputation for so long. How many times have we heard, “Oh, he had a reputation for liking women” as if women are candy in a shoppe waiting to be unraveled?
I wish I could say this was a permanent fix. I wish I could this would never happen again. I am young enough to not know of any other moments like this one. I am old enough to know that soon enough the men that are so eager to act would feel the heat too close and start sheltering the accused again. The men that have fallen would lay low until the public has forgotten and then the redemption would begin.
This is just a phase, sadly.