It is pretty clear that there is hardly a woman alive that has not been sexually harassed. Many have been raped.  And yet it is still too often viewed by both men and women, by judges, by politicians, by actresses and clothing designers as somehow the fault of the woman.  A man’s behavior has got to be in response to the way women comport themselves, what they wear, how much make up they have on, their stride, the height of their heels, the sound of their voice, the number of times they bat their eyes or clear their throats. Men take all things into account as they seek silent permission to grope, grab, brush, force, coerce, fondle, push, rape, kiss, lick, hold and masturbate in front of women.

Everything is a signal.

A large part of our culture would have you believe that it is up to women to control the behavior of men, that men are not responsible for what they do with their power, their hands and their penises. Being a sexual predator, a rapist is about wielding power.  It is about subjugation and the demeaning of the victim.

I have been groped and forcibly kissed on the job.  I have had men expose their penises to me on the street and subway. I have had my ass grabbed many times and once had a man get on the ground and grab me around my legs. More than once I have been lucky to get out of a situation without being assaulted. I have two daughters and when I think about what I know they will have to endure I am beside myself. I have little hope that things will change anytime soon. Especially since we just elected a self-admitted sexual predator as President of the United States.

When the videotape of Donald Trump’s disgusting prideful admission of his sexual predatory ways came to light his campaign should have been over. It wasn’t. Why?

Because this nation doesn’t truly care about its girls.

The media, the Republicans, independents and over 53% of voting white women excused his behavior.  Even as women in droves came out to document his own admission, they were dismissed. Women are always dismissed. We aren’t believed.  (And for those of you who want to bring up Bill Clinton, I would suggest that you are arguing my point. He paid a price. Trump did not. He was rewarded.)

Harvey Weinstein is no worse than Donald Trump.

Trump admitted to grabbing women’s vaginas with his hands and kissing them without their permission.

Over 60 million Americans thought that was okay or that it was in his past, completely ignoring all the testimony that suggested differently.  They decided that it was okay to say to girls and to women that your feelings and safety don’t matter.  60 million Trump voters many of whom are probably appalled by the revelations about Weinstein are likely still excusing Trump. Why?

It’s hard to be responsible for one’s own appalling actions. Instead one looks for excuses. Trump was famous. Women must have thrown themselves at him. That was then, this is now. Above and beyond that, women’s safety, our sexuality, our ability to determine our own destiny is still up for grabs in this society. Women just don’t count as much as men. We aren’t as valuable. Our opinions, our health, our ability to formulate our own destiny is discounted by a majority of white men, especially Republican men. To them what Trump did wasn’t a big deal. It was a guy being a guy. Weinstein?  He got caught.

It is not to suggest that there aren’t men that get it and who have hearts and minds that stand with women. There are. But there are not enough. And there are too many women who deny what is happening, who participate in the blaming of women, who raise sons that perpetuate the evil. Women don’t get a pass for this kind of behavior.

We cannot count on men to change this for us. After the shock of Trump being elected wore off, women decided that action was needed. More women are running for office than ever before. More are getting involved at a grassroots level.  It is a beginning.

When we support Rose McGowan who alleges she was raped by Harvey Weinstein, when we take Donna Karan and Mayim Balik to task for blaming women for the way they dress,  we are doing the right thing.

When we remind people over and over and over again that President Trump is no different than Harvey Weinstein and we hold people accountable for their vote, for what they are perpetuating, we are doing the right thing.

When we say, post and remind the world - “me too” we are serving notice that we no longer will stay silent. Predators beware. We are coming for you. We will be believed and we will take you down.

Me too.

-Jan Harrison


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