By now most of us heard about the MeToo campaign. If not from social media than from the news. It is everywhere. It’s shocking to me how many people decided to step forward and talk about what happened to them. I knew from my personal experience that uncomfortable sexual comments are made sometimes at a place of work and I definitely knew that many people are raped but honestly I never imagined that there are so many victims out there. I will not talk about rape, not because it’s not important to talk about, in my opinion it is the worst that can happen to someone, man or woman. What I want to write about is sexual comments and how, in the opinion of some people, this is not such a serious thing and it can’t really harm someone.
Where I live, up to now, two well known and respected men from the entertainment industry have been accused of sexual harassment since this campaign started. One was accused of rape as well but the other was only accused of inappropriate sexual conduct and sexual comments.
The thing is that some of the people that spoke up about what happened to them said that the facts happened many, many years ago and yet they just decided to talk about it now. Why? They were ashamed, thought it was their fault, they were scared for different reasons and mostly that they will not be believed and they will lose their job.
I heard two ladies talking about the man that didn’t physically assaulted nobody but made sexual comments and inappropriate behaviour. These ladies were saying that it makes no sense to them being the fact that the guy never raped anybody, that he is accused like that and that he lost his job and destroyed his career ‘because’ of the people that accused him. They said that if someone feels uncomfortable in any way and if he/she doesn’t like it than just grab their things and leave.
I’m sitting there listening to this and I’m thinking: really??? It’s up to the victim to leave? It’s them that have to change their job and leave this person continue with whatever their doing, doing it to someone new all over again? It shouldn’t be them that have to leave? Shouldn’t someone tell them that what they do is unacceptable?
Reading on Facebook about the same man I saw that many others were defending him. And not only that, some were saying that what he did it’s not to be condemned as sexual harassment because it’s not and because behaviour like that does not destroy someone’s life like rape does. While I agree that rape it’s way worse (the worst that can happen) I think that this kind of behaviour is sexual harassment as well. I think and I know that when you hear someone making sexual comments every day at your place can actually harm you. I think and I know that when you are in a situation like that you wonder constantly if this happens because of you. Is it because of the way you dress, or act or things you say? Is it because of the way you look? Is it your fault? Why is this happening to you? Slowly but surely it brings you down and breaks you somehow.
I understand that some people are opened when it comes to their sexuality and that is completely fine. But why do others have to suffer because of it? If you wonder why people don’t say anything to the person that makes them uncomfortable and just let’s it go, here is why: on the spot you can freeze, you might think that you didn’t hear well or didn’t understand well, you might be so uncomfortable in that situation that you simply can’t react.
So no, it can’t be compared to rape but it’s not acceptable and it should not happen to anyone. It makes me sad and angry and anxious to think that there are people out there that don’t think this is serious. So sad and so angry and so anxious.
Thanks for reading!