The other day in Toronto, a dude at a TFC game sexually harassed Shauna Hunt, a news reporter, using the popular phrase 'fuck her right in the pussy', which is the punchline to a rape joke the set up of which is 'what will you do if you find the missing girl?'. The guy didn't say the phrase, she beat him to the punch. He's was waiting his turn to try and get a shot at saying it. She overheard him and his friends plotting, and she decided not to wait to be humiliated again (it had already happened at least once that day). So this guy got confronted. And it blew up, of course, and rightfully so. It blew up for a lot of people and for a lot of reasons.
Most people saw the problem. Some defended the action saying things like boys will be boys, or it was only because he was drunk, or she shouldn't have talked to drunk men, or isn't this being blown out of proportion, or they're just idiots, or aren't we getting way to offended over everything these days.
Well, maybe. But likely not. To all of them. Yes, the guy is an idiot. Fact. Yes, he was drunk. Fact .Yes, this blew up really big. And it was 'out of proportion', sadly, because the 'proportion' to which it was being measured, was silence. It's been the 'shut up and take it mentality', where those whose right's are being trampled on should hush up and not make it hard or painful for those who are trampling. Because G-D forbid the abusers get harmed in the making of this injustice.
Well, in this case, the abuser did become 'the victim' losing his job over the matter, and receiving a 'public shaming' - which naturally has caused a backlash as well. I have a lot of ideas about all of this. But Instead, I want to post the things I've been reading that have been helping me see my way through this. And yes, many of these will feel like they are one sided. I actually haven't found anything intelligent to say that that man should be allowed to say what he did without consequences.
I stand in a strange spot though in that I don't know how I feel about the consequences in relation to the problem. My jury is out. He got fired, and that sucks for him, and it's great for anyone who worked there who would have felt uncomfortable having to work by his side, so I think there's justice in there somewhere, but it also doesn't solve the problem of his misogyny. It does address it. It does send a message and therefore has some value. And I know it's not his work's job to fix him. But exactly what message does it send? Does it send hate underground, where it can fester and thrive? Does it work to re-educate the future generation? I really don't know. But I appreciate that something has happened. Because I've seen nothing happen far too much.
The media's reaction has been something to follow as well, since they help frame this for the public. So when I read The Toronto Star post an article with the title How Toronto turned a drunken prank into a workplace bullying issue it made want to scream and throw things because even they are missing the point. It was never just a drunken prank. The only reason it was ever framed that way it because nobody called it was it was - sexual harassment. A lot of things were 'allowed' due to silence that were CLEARLY not okay. Slavery. Rape. Concentration Camps. Colonialism. Thanksgiving! Okay, before I start a new blog here...read some words from some smart pals.
Caitlin Baker shared this article, which was very interesting around the 'culture of shaming' and how it has affected some 'victims'. A great article, really. Smart and sympathetic. And raises big questions, which these things should. How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life
And Lauren MacKinlay - actress and producer and organizer of Women On Screen along with a few other gems of human beings - then shared THIS. As did Farah Mehrani. As did....Well, Lauren sent it to me first, because she's not ahead of the curve, she IS the curve when it comes to these types of smart movements. And I was reminded how intelligent the friends are I have on my fb, and how strong their commitment to ally-ship is, even as we're all figuring out what it means to be an ally, and how it works.
I love my community. I appreciate the open minded people within it who don't share my views and are able to have intelligent, articulate conversations regarding the nuances of things we haven't 'solved'. I appreciate the people who can listen, who can be wrong, who can learn, who are hungry to hear empathetically and live honestly.
I've been wrong many times. I have a hard time saying it. I have a hard time saying sorry when I've hurt someone. I want to be a better person. And I fight for it. And I appreciate that I have a community who wants better for me. In turn, I want better for others. Being an ally is everything, but it's also one of the most difficult things I'm wrapping my heart around.
I want to take the time to thank everyone who showed up to discuss the events of that day everywhere, and ask - did anything change for you? what changed and how? did you come away with a new idea or perspective? how are you different after living through the events of that day/week?