By now, you'll probably have heard of the whole Harvey Weinstein scandal.
Honestly, before this all started, I hadn't even heard of Harvey Weinstein.
But I now understand that he apparently wielded a butt-load of behind the scenes power in Hollywood and the film industry for a looong time!
The framing of a lot of the news stories has been against the accusers, although I've also seen things that are clearly slanted against the accused.
In most countries, there's a presumption of innocence until proven guilty.
I believe in this with my whole heart. Until the facts are established in a court of law, that person is innocent.
THAT DOESN'T MEAN YOU DISBELIEVE THE VICTIMS.
You ALWAYS believe the victims, unless they are thoroughly disproved later (and this is rare - yes it happens occasionally, but it's RARE.)
But how do the two things work together?
Now, I know a lot of people don't get this, but until something is decided on a legal level, both facts are true.
So, truth: Harvey Weinstein is innocent until proven guilty.
Truth: The women are not lying; this happened to them.
And women are not the only victims.
The abuse of power in Hollywood, and beyond, clearly goes beyond the allegations against Weinstein.
There have been many hints and statements over the past week or so about the way the acting industry works - especially in regards to the treatment of young women.
And let's not forget the numerous allegations made against the current president of the United States, including his own bragging about sexual assault he's committed.
Cara Delevingne's story shows the specific problems queer women face - especially in the film industry.
Delevingne spoke about being told by Weinstein that she'd never get work as an actress if she was publicly in a same-sex relationship, and being asked inappropriate questions about her sex life with other women.
Her description of being pressured to make out with another woman (which she managed to escape,) for Weinstein's pleasure shows a sickening level of fetishisation.
I'm also yet to comes across a news article or report that actually mentions this sexuality-based aspect to his harassment of her.
I'm not down-playing the terrifying and horrifying nature of him trying to kiss her - but the targeting of her for her sexuality is definitely not something which should be ignored.
His alleged actions reduced her sexuality to a commodity - a show, purely for his enjoyment.
Queer women shouldn't have to put up with this sh**.
The innate instinct of many people to jump to victim-blaming is really not a great reflection on society.
If someone turns up at a hospital with a stab wound (to use a blunt analogy,) you don't, as a member of the medical staff, argue over whether they've been stabbed or not.
You accept that they've been stabbed.
Who stabbed them and why is not something you deal with at that moment. You need to deal with the damage.
In the Harvey Weinstein scenario, the accusers are stab victims. We are the medical staff.
The exact sequence of events is not our problem. We don't tell the patient that they haven't been stabbed.
Ok, maybe I'm laying it on a little thick, but *gestures, once again, at the world in general, and the US in particular* subtlety is not something we need right now.
And if you have EVER been sexually harassed, assaulted, or raped, IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT.
It doesn't matter what clothes you were or were not wearing. It doesn't matter if you'd been drinking. It doesn't matter if you'd been flirting with the attacker.
It doesn't matter if you were pole-dancing in the nude - IT WAS NOT YOUR FAULT.
The second you withdraw consent, or someone does something with no consent at all, IT IS THEIR FAULT NOT YOURS.
Most women (and some men) - sadly - have some experience of groping and/or assault.
I know that I've been groped by a**holes who casually put their hands where they shouldn't in the past.
It happens. But it SHOULDN'T.
And when it comes to trials? The accused is the one on trial, NOT the victim.
The victim should NEVER be on trial.
We need to keep the balance.
Innocent until proven guilty. Belief in the victim unless disproven.
Until something tips the proverbial scales, BOTH of these things are true.
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