Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. Roy Moore. Louis C.K. Ben Affleck. George H.W. Bush. James Toback. Chris Savino. Roy Price. John Besh. Mark Halperin. Michael Oreskes. Lockhart Steele.
Men everywhere are stepping down, being fired, losing job offers, surrendering their fame after being held accountable for sexually harassing women.
To the women who've come forward, thank you.
I see in these headlines, "Celebrity Chef Steps Down From Restaurant He Founded," "Nickelodeon Creator Fired," "Hollywood Director Fired From His Own Company," the promise of a world where sexual harassment is not tolerated, not excused, and not okay. I see the possibility of a world where men are held accountable for their actions. I see a world where men know there will be consequences for harassing and intimidating women. I see a world where women feel safe coming forward, where women know they will be protected, where women know they will believed. I see a world where less men feel safe committing sexually harassment.
We are a long way from this world, but the possibility is there. Society has, somewhat arbitrarily, it seems, to me, randomly decided that we actually do care about sexual harassment. Men report being shocked, wondering, how could this have gone on for so long? How can so many men be violent criminals? Why did these women not say anything before?
These women didn't say anything before because they knew you would not believe them.
You don't get to pick and choose which celebrities are innocent or guilty based on how much you like them.
It's sad to watch everyone defending Louis C.K. It's sad your icon is ruined. It's a lot more sad that he's abusing his fame to sexually intimidate women. We're not going to stop this societal problem until we stop acting like sexual harassment is something you can "explain away," or that its harm is something you can negotiate. No excuses.
This massive indictment of powerful men doesn't surprise me or shock me. Living as a woman, I know this is how the world is, and I've known it for a long time. It encourages me to see these men held accountable. I feel deeply grateful to the women coming forward against assailants. You have carved out a space for other women to feel safe doing the same.
As a victim of sexual harassment and assault, reporting it when it happened never seemed like an option- who would believe me? Who would care? But now, with more and more people coming forward, I feel that, if it happened again, reporting it is an option I have. I feel like people might take me seriously, or even understand. I feel like society might actually want to hold these people accountable. That makes me feel powerful. That makes me feel safe, when the reality of knowing you can be sexually assaulted or harassed at any time, and no one will protect you or care, makes you feel the least safe you could possibly imagine.
I feel deeply grateful to the women coming forward. You have carved out a space for other women to feel safe doing the same.
I think this is a really good societal development, this accountability- and maybe, if men think they won't get away with it, then they'll stop doing it. That's the real shame here, is that these men got away with it for so long, because if these women came forward or if they didn't come forward before, they knew you wouldn't care or believe them. Believe women. Defend women.
Don't wait for video tapes, or a man's confirmation, or "proof." Speaking out against an assailant is harder and scarier than you can imagine. When women speak out, believe their voices.