By Shannon Reardon
When the news first broke that Harvey Weinstein had allegedly sexually assaulted many of Hollywood’s leading ladies, actress Alyssa Milano tweeted out, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”
Shortly thereafter the trending topic on all social media was #metoo, where women told their stories about being sexually harassed.
With each story I saw posted by family, friends, and colleagues, I would be able to produce a mirroring story.
But I am of the minority that doesn’t care to see these men resigning from their positions in the spotlight.
For the last decade, I have immersed myself into the culture of rock music, while learning and writing about the lives of each of my favorite musicians.
I’ve read and seen images in autobiographies, including hair metal forerunners Mötley Crüe, depicting the ways that their female fans were used and then cast aside. It was common knowledge there were different women, in different cities, every night throwing themselves at band members, crew members, or anyone that would have them.
Naturally, band members would often exploit these situations because they felt they could get away with it. Because, after all, it was silently condoned by the industry.
This is not to say that I am disregarding the actions of the men and women who were actively living by the motto, “sex, drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll,” nor am I saying that all women who have been used and abused by musicians deserve what happened to them; however, I can’ t help but wonder why some women, who have recently accused politicians and news media giants, couldn’t have avoided the situations they found themselves in.
Being raised by a single mother, the importance of being able to defend myself in situations where I felt uncomfortable was a concept that was drilled into me. The idea that these women had no way of knowing what an invitation to a hotel room actually meant baffles me.
In the case of The Today Show host Matt Lauer inviting a woman to his hotel room during his coverage of the 2014 Sochi, Russia Winter Olympics, how did she not know what was going to happen?
Or the women who have filed multiple grievances against their abusers, who harassed or assaulted them more than once. After an instance of abuse occurs, there should never be another opportunity to become a repeat offender.
I understand some women feel that they are trapped in these situations though, fearing that they will lose their careers if they don’t comply with what their abusers want. But having the ability to hold another person’s career over her head to make her bend to your will is never okay. No one should have to sacrifice their morals to maintain a job.
As more and more celebrities are revealed as having sexually harassed or abused someone, I think it’s time that we sit and reflect as a society on how to better protect ourselves from potential abusers and to also limit any further accounts by educating ourselves on the potential for abuse and ways to prevent it.
Contact Shannon Reardon at firstname.lastname@example.org