I would like to commend the bravery of all the participants of the “Me Too” movement who spoke up this week. It can be very hard to reveal such a personal trauma in such a public manner. Bravo. That being said, I only consider it the first step in fighting sexual assault in our country.
Awareness is an important part of any social campaign, and that’s where “Me Too” comes into play. It has garnered national attention and many women have come forward that I had had zero clue were sexually assaulted. That being said, what’s even more important than general awareness is the act of coming forward and naming assailants.
Now I’m aware of the many reasons victims may not want to do this. He/she is in a position of power, he/she is a relative, no one will believe you, etc. I’m aware this can be difficult and, it would be ironic for anyone to force someone to do anything on this issue, but hear me out.
If an abuser is still at large it is not unreasonable to assume that they will continue to commit sexual assaults. Now some would argue that this makes a victim morally responsible for all future assaults an attacker commits, but I will not be making this point as I believe although it could have some moral justification, ultimately, it is ignorant of the delicateness of this situation. That being said, it’s imperative that victims come out and start naming names.
Whenever this statement is raised, people tend to point to Bill Cosby and how he could have an army of women accuse him yet still not be convicted. That is a painful reality because sexual assault is a really hard crime to prove. However, is anyone going to hire Bill Cosby from now on? Is he going to be able to get on a set and drug then rape more innocent women? Yes. Admittedly he’s not in prison, but the mere action of accusing him is enough to help stop him from being able to commit his crime again.
Now, there may not be evidence. The incident may have happened while the victim was drunk, or cornered alone somewhere. But nevertheless, people who have suffered these crimes should still come forward.
If you’re in school, report these assailants to the police or to campus security. They might not be directly punished, but they’ll at least be on the school’s radar which might deter future attacks. If you’re not in school, go to the police. You might not be able to prove it, but maybe there’s someone else who can. Once again, they might not get punished, but they will be put on the authorities’ radar which can go a surprisingly long way in stopping these events from continuing.
Sexual assault does not deserve the air of secrecy that has been encased around it. We cannot hope to fight this plague while simultaneously trying to sweep it under the rug. The “Me Too” movement is an honest attempt at creating a dialogue, but unless it is followed up with a campaign of pulling the curtains back and letting actual light expose this crypt of evil, the fight against sexual assault will never progress past social media campaigns.