Time's Up and #MeToo is the 2018 sexual harassment movement that is spreading like wildfire across the U.S. And for a good reason, too. After seeing others stand up for themselves, thousands of women who have kept silent about their violations decided to make the claim that some men have taken their testosterone-induced confidence a little too far. As a feminist and advocate for female empowerment, I highly support the courage of women to raise awareness of sexual harassment and the need for consent. But it angers me to see some women unlawfully blame their "abusers."
Women such as Halsey have had their lives turned upside down after being roughly handled by a man. Most of these women have overcome severe anxiety attacks, depression and suicide attempts. It is only right for them to find closure by bringing justice and addressing the man who believed that nothing was wrong.
It does sadden me to see men being accused of problems that should not exist in the first place. But it's also disappointing when women falsely claim to have been abused. Some women have actually been harassed or forced against their will, but others go through with certain acts and feel guilty about their actions afterward, finding solace by creating false accusations against genuinely innocent men.
"No" means no, but without firm verbal consent or disapproval, there exists a thin line between coercion and a two-sided agreement. Body language can be hard to pick up on, especially if it is not obvious. Hitting someone forcefully can easily be interpreted as hate, but staying in a stiff position or moving as little as possible are harder to pick up on, in certain scenarios. Same thing with facial expressions. What an uncomfortable grimace may look like to can be interpreted as a smile to others.
Therefore, verbally expressing your feelings is very important to establish open communication. But some women choose not to rely upon words and instead, tehy use unreliable context clues. And when they decide to "go with it anyway" and reflect upon it later, they feel guilty and violated and choose to categorize their discomfort under sexual harassment, when really, it was not.
Take for example the sexual misconduct filed against Aziz Ansari. Though he may have acted impulsively and inappropriately, Grace could have told him "no" and left his residence, instead of saying "chill out" or "later," and engaging with him. The way she spoke to him does not immediately signal her uneasiness, which is what could have created that disparity in communication. Though some of the blame rests with Ansari for the misconduct, Grace also deserves some partial blame for her lack of strong expression.
Sometimes, men do not communicate as clearly, leading to the same problem except in the opposite gender. Consent lives in the gray area unless it is crystal clear whether it exists or not. That's why it is in the best interest of adults to vocalize their inner emotions throughout their romantic encounters, or else, the results can end up not-so-romantic.
Sexual harassment is wrong. It is not acceptable to take advantage of someone when they are intoxicated or whether they do not want a person's advances. And naming the guilt over an uncomfortable one night stand that an individual voluntarily took part in should not be called sexual harassment.
Movements like these should not be an outlet for the guilt over a hookup. It is only for real cases of pressure over sexual relations. There is a difference between the two, and if we do not see that, then #MeToo could become a front used for those who wish to ignore their true feelings over a failed relationship.