“I think only when we can shift the shame from the victims to perpetrators, the change will start there.”- Dr. Denis Mukwege
In October 2018, New York time published how #MeToo movement brought down 201 powerful men in the United States. Majority of these men have harassed and assaulted women for many years and probably never imagined they would ever have to face any consequences. We have seen in the last couple of years how so many men in power and fame were accused, proven guilty, removed or resigned from their position or even sentenced as a consequence of MeToo movement.
Victim blaming and shaming has not completely stopped, it is a huge cultural issue all over the world and will not be eradicated overnight. But, a movement like MeToo certainly is a milestone in women empowerment. It showed women how to ignore victim shaming!
Women have been subjected to sexual abuse and violence in all societies , in every country and culture in the world for ages. The society taught us, women who are assaulted by men are the ones to be blamed. And those who choose to talk about it, don’t have any dignity or respect. They are characterless and unacceptable to a society. This strategy really worked in favor of men for generations, to exploit women. Victim blaming, and the stigma and shame associated with it forced women to keep quiet. Either nobody would trust, or even if they do, the victim would be marginalized by blaming, shaming or even punishing!
The trauma and stigma of disclosing their sexual abuses are much more than enduring it. Therefore women usually choose not to talk about it, to shut down, block the memory or to live with the trauma for the rest of their lives. That was the biggest weapon for men, which they used against women for centuries.
Women were silent not because they were weaker, but because they were scared about the ramifications. Men used this silence to exploit women. This is one major causes why these celebrity actors, directors, politicians, sportsperson, doctors and scientists were so confident for years that they would never be caught, as no women would like to talk about their own sexual abuses. It was a simple strategy used by men across countries and cultures – rape or assault women and then shame and blame them when they are trying to protest or fight. Shame them to the extent that, no one ever in the future would dare do disclose again.
#MeToo movements have provided immense strengths to survivors to speak up. This age old tactics of shaming women for being assaulted is not working anymore with the success of #MeToo and similar movements. Women all over the world are inspired to speak up about the abuses and violence which they endured, sometimes may be years ago, but decided to minimize or block the experience as a survival strategy.
There have been backlashes, criticism and reported misuse of the popularity of this movement. However, #MeToo shook the entire world and was able to alter such a popular notion that a sexual assault victim should be ashamed, but not the predator! Now men (at least some of them ) are scared and would think twice before harassing women. They know their misconduct could be exposed at any time. I feel, men would probably be more cautious in how they treat women, as women are less likely to remain silent.
You may want to read this article on the guideline and resources about healing for survivors of childhood sexual abuses.
#MeToo #Stopvictimblaming #Endofsexualviolence #violenceagainstwomen #empoweringwomen