The #MeToo movement has taken the country--and the world--by storm. Hardly a week goes by without a woman coming forward with stories of assault, harassment and sexual misconduct. I love that women are coming forward and being empowered to speak out, and I truly believe that this is necessary to create a safer, better society. But just because a movement is doing great things does not mean that it's closed to critiques, and like any social movement, #MeToo has its fair share of issues.
First off, #MeToo is hardly gender inclusive. Yes, statistically more women than men are sexually assaulted and harassed, but that does not mean that we can present the entire issue in terms of this dichotomy. Men are also harassed and assaulted, and these men deserve just as much anger and support as the women. Take Terry Crews, for example. After he came forward with his own story of sexual harassment there was plenty of indignation and a brief moment of broader awareness. But that has quickly stalled, and Crews' assaulter hasn't seen any repercussions. Crews himself has spoken out about this double standard when he tweeted "SOMEONE GOT A PASS" after his alleged assaulter, talent agent Adam Venit, returned to work after a 30-day suspension. At a time when powerful men like Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K. are seeing the end of their careers due to women speaking out, shouldn't male victims get the same support and recognition?
On a related note: women can be the harassers too. Sexual assault and harassment are about power and control, and while the overwhelming majority of the accused are men, we cannot overlook the fact that women can also be the perpetrators. Whether it's Hollywood, academia, athletics or any other field, anyone can be harassed, and anyone can be the offender. Regardless, everyone deserves the respect of the #MeToo movement, not just those who fit the stereotypical image of a woman being attacked by a man.
Finally, the #MeToo movement is not a witch hunt, it is not a trend, and it is certainly not going away. I get it: you don't want to believe that the world you live in can be so full of horrible people. It's a scary realization. But the men and women who have been victims of sexual misconduct have known this their entire lives. We don't get the privilege of burying our heads in the sand and pretending that none of this exists. It affects our lives every day.
So next time you start to open your mouth and argue that every single accusation can't possibly be true, think of each person that you are devaluing with that argument. You are telling them that they aren't credible, and their voices don't matter. Terry Crews put it best: "This is not a 'witch hunt' everyone. It's a FUMIGATION."