“Why are they all coming forward?”
“They just want attention.”
From politics to the creative landscape of the film industry, sexual assault allegations have become regular and seemingly heightened this year in response to the November reveal of several male appropriations of sexual misconduct. A most infamous example of recent sensual indignancy is the well-known producer Harvey Weinstein, in which nearly 80 women have accused of sexual harassment.
But in response to these accusations, many are skeptical of why these women are currently coming forward and admitting to a level of cruelty so gruesome, given that their anecdotes might seem implausible and doused in a range of ulterior motives.
What is not inquired though is one: the length of time that these women have been trying to draw attention to these resentful acts. And two: the actual reason why their credibility is questioned.
The simple answer to a continuance of human ignorance is the fact that we live in liaison with a male-dominated social and political sphere. Even if there is legitimate validity behind the sexual assault allegations brought forward, women are habitually ignored as they have always been held to secondary and unattainable societal standards. It is especially difficult for these claims to be brought to the public’s eye because the power of the men that they are trying to receive emotional reparation and prevent future male appropriations of sexual assault from are extremely inflated. This not only leads to further suppression of these allegations but keeps women from progressing passed an oppressive society.
As for why so many women come forward at the same time is a whole other aspect of this issue. Think of it this way: if one woman is recognized and her pleas are assessed, then concurrently the media and general public begin to look into similar claims, bringing complementary allegations to fruition and making it seem like these women have only now expressed their vexation.
Another way that this effect becomes a reality in modern society is that women who have had similar experiences under this burdensome individual see that finally someone’s claims are being considered, so they have a greater likelihood of being heard if they publicize their experience now.
The fact of the matter is: sexual assault isn’t a new and contemporary concept. It has been around since the beginning of human communication and is a representation of the innate doubts behind a woman’s intentions because of a gender-biased culture. Our society continually suppresses the animosity behind a subject that can’t necessarily be proved on either side of the interaction. But rather than advocating for abolishing a furtherance in harassment, we choose to ignore the claim, side with the person that seems most credible (almost always the male perpetrator), and promote a cycle of skepticism keeping sexual assault concealed and prominent.
According to Yorba Linda High School senior Peyton Wagner, “these women are not reporting these indecencies for the sake of notoriety, but rather to hamper the continuation of the morality that has been stolen from them. In light of today’s social situation, sexual assault allegations seem more prevalent, because we are culturally more aware of our indecency. It was still predominant in the past, but was just completely overshadowed by our magnified bigotry.”
Whether you believe these assertions or not, it is important to remember that sexual assault is still sexual assault. It doesn’t matter if it happened 40 years ago or just yesterday, it is completely inhumane and insensitive to resist the legitimacy behind a claim merely based on gender or the oppressor’s public acclaim. Even if the victim’s allegation may seem irreverent, we can’t just continue to ignore these claims and turn the other cheek without at least listening to both aspects of the incident.
If we continue to sacrifice human integrity to the persecutor of violence, we are socially reverting to the oppressive habits of the past, thus allowing for the malevolence of rape culture to reign supreme.