I am a sexual assault survivor. Like many women in the United States I have been both sexually assaulted and sexually harassed. When the news of Harvey Weinstein's countless assaults broke, a large part of me was not surprised, just sad (“Motion Picture Academy expels movie mogul Harvey Weinstein," Oct. 16). Sad that this has happened to more women yet again.
In the wake of the story, though, something happened that made me angry. The conversation shifted away from his abhorrent behavior and toward celebrities’ reactions to it. I turned on the news and everyone wanted to know when Hillary Clinton was going to respond, and how could actresses like Meryl Streep have worked with him and not known. The conversation was no longer about Mr. Weinstein and the terrible things he did, but how women in power like Hillary were responding to it. Because apparently it is every woman’s fault who ever worked with Mr. Weinstein that they didn’t know and stop him from assaulting women, instead of you know, it being his fault for assaulting women.
Do people not understand how insane that sounds? Then things got worse people started blaming the victims. Donna Karan said "What are we asking? Are we asking for it by presenting all the sensuality and all the sexuality?" I actually screamed out loud, “are you kidding me?” How is this a conversation we are still having? It doesn't matter what a woman wears, she is never asking to be sexually assaulted or harassed. In America, we teach girls to dress conservatively, walk in groups, don’t drink too much because something bad might happen. But what we are really saying is let it be the other girl. We teach girls to make sure they aren’t the target instead of teaching boys to respect women and not assault them. It is time to change the conversation about sexual assault in America because this cannot stand.
No woman, no matter what she wears, deserves to be treated this way. Stop victim blaming and start educating.
Rachel Cooper, Baltimore
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