I was asked recently to weigh in on a discussion as to whether I thought the Harvey Weinstein scandal was a watershed moment in our culture.  Would we look back and see this time as being pivotal to a change in how men interact with women in our culture. Would women stop being harassed, abused and assaulted on a daily basis by men because of the horror of the revelations by a group of white women actresses?

I doubt it. Had this happened a year ago, I might have felt differently.  Had 60 million people not voted for a man who crowed about grabbing women’s vaginas, who has a history of being a sexual predator, who continues to treat women as if they are objects to be leered at I might have found a reason to believe that our society was ready to embrace change. Yet given that the revelations about Bill Cosby had caused no such societal epiphany I still would have been hard-pressed to believe that even with the fact that most of the victims, in this case, were white, that it would make enough of a difference to change people’s perceptions.

Trump and his supporters suggested his behavior was what occurred in locker rooms. Rape and sexual assault are about power.

It is a horrifying, debilitating act committed by a man or a woman that robs the victim of their right to self-determination over their own body and destiny.

Those that engage in perpetual acts of this kind of violence are numerous and are given cover by those who are too afraid to stand up or see this kind of behavior as part and parcel of the professional world.

It’s not just Hollywood or politicians. It is a rampant problem in higher education and in finance and in Silicon Valley. It is everywhere. Most women can give you a litany of examples of being harassed and assaulted, and too many have been raped.

The harm done to women by voting in Donald Trump didn’t end with the symbolic gesture of the basic f**k you sent by millions of Americans, including 53% of white women voters to women it had a very real impact on the psyche of our society.  So much of what has been accomplished for women’s rights, access to healthcare, reproductive services, abortion, education have been undone. Betsy Devos, the Secretary of Education, under our Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief thinks that we too often give the benefit of the doubt to the victim, as a result, has rolled back protections for victims of sexual assault on college campuses.

To now think that we are close to seeing a new day because yet another man has shown us the depths of depravity within our culture is naive.

Black people know this all too well. Every time a Black person is murdered in cold blood by a cop and there is a video, one thinks that this time, they will be found guilty, this time things will be different, this time justice will be done; only once again to see that this time is no different from the last.  He walks free as another mother and father grieve.

Too much is wrong to think that we can make this right. Not yet and not now. Our basic humanity has to be reawakened. The lying must stop. The truth must matter. Nothing will ever change if we can find the courage, to be honest.

-Jan Harrison


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