Why’s it taken so long?

Harvey Weinstein (no relation btw) has been sexually harassing and abusing women for nearly 30 years. And getting away with it. Because while apparently “everyone” knew about it, “mum” was the word.

By “everyone,” incidentally, I don’t mean the women. I mean, the industry folks. His partners and associates, board members, employees, crew members, actors, agents, press, peers and competitors. Everyone.

They all knew. And now, all of a sudden, 30 years later they’re crawling out of the woodwork. So where’ve they been all these many years, all these upstanding members of the film-making community who are now so outraged?

I’ll tell you where they were. Turning the other cheek. Turning a blind eye to what was going on right under their noses.

Enablers, each and every one.

Sad as it is, I can understand why Harvey Weinstein’s victims were afraid to come forward. We live in a world where “victims” are further victimized, where they’re treated like they’re the guilty ones. Fingers are pointed at them and more often than not, when they are brave enough to come forward, the party line is, “well, they must have asked for it.”

And, lest we forget, a lot of them were young and just starting out. They were terrified he’d retaliate and their careers would be over before they got started. Even those who’d already made it had his “influence” held over their heads like a weapon.

But the industry insiders — many of whom are powerful in their own right, what about them? As far as I’m concerned they’re as much of a disgrace as he is, if not more.

They could have said something, done something — they could have called him out back then — they could have fired him back then — they could have tossed him out of the Academy back then — they could have ostracized him back then.

Instead they looked the other way and kept their mouths shut.

Here’s the thing, though. Harvey Weinstein’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It’s been going on for years, long before Harvey Weinstein decided he could grope and fondle and rape whoever he wanted, whenever he felt like it.

It’s been going on for years, long before Harvey Weinstein, in Hollywood and also in cities and towns and villages the world over.

It’s been going on for years, long before Harvey Weinstein, in doctors’ offices and business offices and schools and clubs and locker rooms and college campuses and down the street from where you live and God help you, maybe even in your own house. And I’ll bet most of the time there’s been at least one person who knew, or suspected, what was going on. What is going on.

Yes, what Harvey Weinstein has done is reprehensible. But all those who knew and did nothing, share some of the blame. So does a society and a justice system that casts aspersions on those who have been abused, rather than on their abusers. So do juries who acquit the likes of Bill Cosby and countless others who walk free every day — if their cases even get to court.

Let’s hope this latest scandal teaches us all a lesson. Fame and wealth shouldn’t exonerate abusers and rapists. Poverty and ignorance and mental illness shouldn’t excuse them. It’s never okay to exert size, strength, power or influence over anyone. And most of all, silence is not always golden.

#MeToo.

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6 thoughts on “Why’s it taken so long?

  1. Thanks for writing this EXCELLENT piece.

    I’ve hesitated to participate in the #MeToo campaign because on the scale of abuse, I am on the “got off lucky” end of the spectrum. So much so, that at first I thought that I *didn’t* qualify to use the hashtag.

    But of course I qualify. And I daresay that those few women who have claimed they have escaped sexual abuse and cannot join the campaign might be in denial. Or maybe they don’t recognize abuse when it happens. Because, as you say it has been going on for so long, for forever, actually, and it has been normalized.

    • Thank you. I hesitated as well for exactly the same reason as you: I am also on the “got off lucky” end. I actually called my experiences (there were 2) benign. But in talking with a friend last night I realized that I couldn’t and shouldn’t pass them off as “nothing.” And if I did I would also be guilty of “normalizing it.” So here I am.

  2. So true. More of the Jimmy Saviles, Gary Glitters and the like. All historical abuse, all celebs who got away with it whilst their friends/chums/associates turned a blind eye and deaf ear. Hanging is too good for them (imo)……. all of them.

    • Celebs and ordinary men, they all did it and it’s still going on. But hopefully now that the Weinstein thing has gone so viral #MeToo is spreading like wildfire some good will come of it.

  3. It’s all a mystery to me. In our state there was a HUGE scandal at a state college (with a big football program). Evidence is clear the that coach knew it was happening yet did nothing (because he had games to win). This controversy has polarized fans with a huge group supporting him (after all he didn’t do it). This one involved kids so it was really horrendous. I just shake my head at people trying to come up with scenarios to exonerate him. NO, NO, NO!

    • I know, it’s just a disgrace. But as long as we accept it and keep going to those football games and Harvey Weinstein’s movies etc, the more normalized it becomes and the less likely it will stop. It’s up to us.

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