The unexpected. The ones we knew. The ones we thought we knew, thought we could trust. Marching across our TV screens, our newsfeeds; making headlines every day.
They’re coming out of the woodwork, the trusted ones, the good ones who, as it turns out, were not so good after all. Come to find out, they were not so different from those ‘others’. Yes, as our ever hateful POTUS said, we expect it from ‘those Mexicans’, criminals on the street, bad, drunken, violent men from bad, poor, violent backgrounds. Surely, they are the ones who would rape, abuse, violate, terrify and torment. Not the ‘good ones’ who are raised in nice middle-class homes, who had enough food to eat, graduated from college, got good jobs, are well liked and well respected.
We don’t expect this ugly stuff from famous people we admire and think of as good guys. No, it’s unthinkable. They would not do those things, well maybe if they were drunk or pushed into it by their ‘not so good’ friends. You know, peer pressure, locker room talk, all that. The rationalizations fall trippingly off our tongues. That’s how this gets started, you know. We make excuses for them. It’s called enabling.
But wait, watch them all as they parade across our TV screens; big movie producers, important people, business man, behind the scenes and on the set. Network personalities, movie stars, legislators, judges, presidents. Everyone from Bill Cosby, Dustin Hoffman and Kevin Spacey to Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer and Mario Batali, on to Roy Moore, John Conyers to Al Franken and George HW Bush.
These were people we saw, listened to and thought we knew. They entertained us, led us and kept us company as we walked through our lives. Now the truth comes spilling out, the waters overflow their floodgates, drowning us with their raw, vitriolic, palpable disfigurement. There they are pronouncing their innocence, admitting some guilt, making excuses, issuing denials, hiding behind their lawyers, making counter accusations and of course blaming their victims.
They’re coming out of the woodwork, bragging on a Hollywood Access bus, tumbling like Rambo or cooking like Mario, up to his elbows in spaghetti sauce. From Hollywood to Fox news to TODAY. From the Supreme Court, to Congress, to POTUS we are immersed in misogyny and misanthropy.
We’re shocked, no horrified at the sheer numbers. Liberals and ultra-right conservatives, movie stars, athletes and elected officials, they grope and grab, abuse, torment, harass, rape and manipulate.
Their victims are disparaged, demeaned, castigated, rendered powerless; beaten into silence and shamed, paid off, enslaved or forced to live with the lies. To lie down and take it. That’s the way it is. Shut up and put out. In our homes, with our friends, in our churches, in meetings, at work, in restaurants; we are surrounded by those we trusted, those we should be able to trust.
Somehow things got turned upside down. Since when was it funny to abuse someone, since when was it acceptable to trap, expose yourself, force unwanted touches and kisses on anyone? When did it become something you simply got away with? Why did it happen that victims of crimes, assorted variable different degrees of crimes, were ignored, cast aside, mocked and maligned?
Unequal gender roles were here from the start; the decks were stacked. Religion, traditions, norms and customs were codified into law. Then the Law that had the power to dominate. Racial and gender biases, embedded in the law, furthered the needs of those already in power, disenfranchising everyone else.
Those with the most rights, power and resources could legally lord it over those without. And there was no recourse. Woman, minorities and poor get to the back of the bus, cover your heads, lower your eyes, do as you’re told! Don’t even try to argue back.
But today they’re coming out of the woodwork. Today, those violators are being exposed for what and who they are. Today we have a voice. Today we have many voices. We can shout from the rooftops because we have joined one another. We have formed a sisterhood of truth. A marching, clear thinking, powerful band of fair-minded people. Now we can speak our truth aloud and we can say NO MORE!
No more bullies, offenders, abusers. No more being ignored or being disbelieved. We can say ‘no’ to an unjust system of justice. We can say no to an inhumane Congress and President who think only of themselves and legislate against us. We can speak truth through our votes!
Our strength, our power comes from our collective willingness to speak our truths aloud; to act in concert with one another and consciously and intentionally create a safe, just and honest world.