Time Is Giving Power To Survivors, As We All Should

Time Is Giving Power To Survivors, As We All Should

This is a watershed moment in history, hopefully changing for the positive what your workforce will look like.
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In the wake of the allegations brought forth against Matt Lauer last week, my little sister and I were hurt and confused. Here was a man we had watched so frequently throughout our childhood hosting the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, hosting our mom's favorite morning show. Here he was, revealed to be a serial sexual predator throughout the entirety of our childhood.

In the midst of our shock, my mom sent a text to the two of us: "But my dears, this is a watershed moment in history, hopefully changing for the positive what your workforce will look like." While it is unsettling to watch so many public figures we have put up on pedestals fall, what makes it all worth it is not only that they are being held accountable for their horrific actions, but that we now have the opportunity to change how we raise future generations. No longer will "nothing be done" as it was for so long.

Today, Time Magazine named the #MeToo Movement 2017's Person of the Year. In doing so, the magazine spotlighted a seismic shift in our culture by promoting those fighting for advocacy and change rather than those who continue to perpetrate or support assault. One of the most powerful messages conveyed by the cover and its partnering story is that assault is not something limited to one workforce, one institution, or one person. This is a wide-spanning, persisting problem that now has an opposition force with faces, names, and -most critically- voices.

The some of the faces chosen to represent the #MeToo Movement. The cover story spotlights individuals from every walk of life, from celebrities to hotel employees, from women to men. The intention of the variety is to convey how sexual assault can affect us all, but the individuals the story focuses on have all shown us that silence is no longer to be expected or even accepted.


Accountability in assault cases and allegations has for so long been unnecessarily forced upon survivors: in recent years, there has been more and more backlash against the trend of victim-shaming, of saying a survivor was "asking for it", or that they didn't explicitly say no, or that they were too intoxicated so they are to blame; even now in the shifting climate surrounding sexual assault, convicted assailant Brock Turner means to appeal partially on account of how intoxicated Emily Doe had been the night of the assault.

However, a new New York Times article was released further detailing the decade-long extent of Harvey Weinstein's predatory behavior. The five writers conducted extensive research to discover how deep the acts and cover-ups went. In doing so, they cast a harsh light not simply on Weinstein himself, but those around him who allowed the acts, slander, and degradation to continue for so long. The Time cover and the newest NYT article are incredibly significant and powerful as, for what seems like the first time, the perpetrators are the ones being forced to analyzed their actions, giving power back to the survivors - where it belongs. But this is only the first step, and we need to continue this validating and productive trend lest we regress back to silence and suffering.

It doesn't have to go back to the way it was. It doesn't have to feel as though there is no safe avenue for women or anyone in schools, workplaces, or homes. If we don't begin educating our youth that assault is not a display of power or control, instead explaining that it is vile, senseless, and punishable; if we don't begin conditioning them to see the magnitude of pain inflicted on survivors in the stories we read, witness, experience; if we don't start changing the world's perspective to place the blame fairly on the perpetrators instead of on the survivors now, this cyclical system of suffering will never end.

It is just as my mom said, just as Taylor Swift said, just as everyone who has been watching and waiting for justice to be served to those with the intention to harm others: this is a watershed moment in history. This is our watershed moment in history, and it is time to act.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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If You Think Belly Dancing Is Sexual, You're Missing The Whole Point

Believe it or not, exposed stomachs aren't inherently sexual.

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What we know as belly dancing here in America started in the middle east as a way for mothers to teach their daughters how to isolate certain muscles that they would use in childbirth, thus making the process an easier one when it was their time to go through it.

This cultural dance began with mothers teaching daughters behind closed doors where men weren't allowed to watch. It's possible that this fact helped cause some of the negative stigmas behind it by people who do not know its true origin.

Long story short (because I'm not looking to place false facts in this article), belly dancing moved over to America after a while and it wasn't necessarily accepted at first. Today, there is a multitude of belly dancing styles, including belly dance fusion which combines more traditional dancing with modern takes on it by blending multiple cultures or dancing styles.

You're probably wondering why a white girl such as myself is trying to educate you on something that clearly isn't a part of my own culture. Well, for those of you who don't know (or who couldn't recognize me from the cover photo), I belly dance at my university as part of an extracurricular club.

This club is easily one that I am most passionate about. I joined the club in my first semester as a freshman and have stuck with it for the past six semesters, and plan to stick with it for my last two. I came into the club with little previous dance experience and no previous belly dance experience, much like almost everyone else I've seen come and go.

I've heard of professors at my school who said they wouldn't go to our shows because it "made him uncomfortable." Why? Because our stomachs are out and we're moving our hips? That doesn't make our dancing inherently sexual.

We have a rule within our club that if any of us go out to parties, we cannot use belly dancing moves to try to woo guys or girls. Because guess what? That's not the point of belly dancing.

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