No second chances in #MeToo

Staff Editorial

This time last year, #MeToo and the Time’s Up movement were in full swing.

Hollywood actresses came together and spoke up about the abuse and power plays rampant in the industry, proving that even women who we perceive as more privileged are not safe.

It was a venture into uncharted territory to see women advocate for themselves and others on issues that were previously swept under the rug.

Now, we’re seeing another new phenomenon: what happens when disgraced men decide it’s their turn for a comeback.

The main problem with the return of these individuals is that they — not the women they assaulted — are calling the shots on what they did and how they get to return.

When men get to draw the lines of what assault is and who the bad guys are, they draw it in their own favor.

The good guys are on one side, and the bad guys are on the other.

The problem is, all these men claim, and probably believe, they are doing the right thing.

Furthermore, as long as perpetrators are the ones making the rules, nothing will change because their versions of events are fundamentally different from the experiences of survivors.

Harvey Weinstein went public Dec. 3 with an email saying he’s had “a hell of a year” after being put on trial for repeated sexual assault and using his position of power to force himself on women.

Rose McGowan, Nicole Kidman and Gwyneth Paltrow, all of whom accused Weinstein of sexual assault, all know what it’s like to have “a hell of a year.”

A few months ago, Louis C.K. performed unannounced at a comedy club in New York.

He is now publicly dating a French actress who says he did nothing wrong by masturbating in front of women without their consent.

His accusers, Abby Schachner and Rebecca Corry, would beg to differ.

When men see themselves as the victims in the scenario, it is a problem because they were the perpetrators.

If we protect attackers instead of survivors, we actively perpetrate sexual assault.

The bottom line is this: if we let these men return to the spotlight, it will be as though the #MeToo movement never existed.

Once again, women will be silenced, powerful men will become invincible and survivors will be ignored.

And the fact that they got away with it again will make a second reckoning of this scale impossible.

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