On Monday morning, I heard a radio host asking whether women who are victims of assault should even be heard if the incident occurred over 10 years prior. The host, an African-American woman who seemed unaware that she herself is oppressed, asked “Why now?”
I’ll tell you why.
We’ve been raised in a society that did not condemn boys in the playgrounds for roughhousing. We created a masculinity that is unbelievably fragile because those boys were only taught how to channel anger, and not the many other necessary emotions that are all healthy in healthy amounts.
We explained to girls, the victims of the boys bad behavior, that their pain and hurt was invalid because the roughhousing actually meant infatuation. So really, they should be flattered.
What may seem small actually laid the groundwork for people like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, and the many other men accused of assault. They were raised to believe they can get whatever they please and women are their toys, along with being mentally sick.
From personal experience, I can say assault is confusing. My sex education class in high school just 7 years ago didn’t even talk about it, it only emphasized abstinence. Even when I recognized what happened, I convinced myself it was normal.
The reason for now is because there is some progress in a country that seems to be going backwards, progress that I never would have imagined 7 years ago, nonetheless 10. Now, because women are unlearning all that they have been objectified to be.
My body, my choice is more than a slogan, it means we have the right to speak up against those who have dehumanized us no matter how “successful” they seem. Justice and hope may not be one yet, but the spark alone has given victims a voice, after years of being silenced.
There are so many things wrong with what that host said. One more is that even though boys had the upper-hand in the playground, they are no strangers to being victims of assault.
This trauma is real, no matter when it occurred. Now is not the time, but instead just the beginning of truth, acceptance and healing.