In October 2017, the New Yorker and the New York Times published two stories centered on recent assault accusations against the Hollywood film producer, Harvey Weinstein.
Emerging from such exposure, a domino effect has triggered dozens more women to come forward sharing their stories of harassment at the hands of Weinstein. Traced back as the 1970’s, the growing list of victims has now amounted to 82 women.
However, a case like this is anything but unfamiliar to the public eye. Since 2005, victims have come forward accusing popular television actor Bill Cosby of sexual harassment, with up to 35 cases in 2015 and another 23 by 2016, some of which date all the way back to the 1960’s.
Although varying in location, perpetrator, and “cause,” the common thread linking these two cases and the other millions out there is crystal clear to all. The motive behind sex crimes remains the lack of impulse control of men and the society that governs them, which fails to condemn such behavior.
A rapist’s limited consequence and continuation of a normal life lies not in the excuse of female promiscuity or the loss of inhibitions due to narcotics, but a male-dominated society that secures unjust issues like these. Instead of pointing the finger at the real criminals, society passes the blame over to tired excuses like alcohol, female seduction, and provocative clothing.
Since the beginning of time, the female gender has been characterized as inferior to their male counterparts. This continuation of discrimination is an element of American society that is still present today. This is evident in what is known as “rape culture,” the term coined by feminists in the 1970’s in the U.S. which was designed to show the ways male violence is normalized.
Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Association of Women, has stated that the burden does not lie on the shoulders of women, but on men. She stated, “I am really tired of talking about women. We must focus on the men. We must be demanding that the men step forward and take responsibility, whether they think they are the good guy or not. They are not the good guy if they are not speaking out against this, if they are allowing the bullying to continue.”
In response to the recent news of Weinstein, a campaign known as “Me Too” has become a popular system of solidarity among rape victims. Despite the tragedy of the events, women have used it as a tool to bring together those who have recovered and those who are still in recovery.
In order combat the epidemic, both rapists and the rest of society must come uncomfortably close to the problem, face it head on and recognize that male immoral behavior cannot be excused any longer at the expense of their victims.