My Dear Girl,
You are too young to read this now, but my hope is that we will read it together one day. Although my wish, my dear, is that we did not have to. Oh, how I wish we did not have to discuss this at all.
But we need to. So, I want to talk to you about sexual harassment and sexual assault.
You see, there’s a big news story this week about a powerful Hollywood film producer named Harvey Weinstein. He has produced a huge number of the most successful films of the past twenty years. His movies and the movie stars whose careers he’s promoted have won approximately a gazillion Oscars.
That’s all well and good. But what is far, far away from well and good is what he did with all the power he accrued in the movie industry. Simply put, he abused it. Specifically put, he abused it by behaving in a sexually inappropriate manner to actresses and other female movie industry employees. I have to use the word “allegedly” here – which means he hasn’t been convicted of a crime yet. But within the past week or so, women who have been silent for the better part of two decades have finally been brave enough to tell their stories of unwanted sexual advances, sexual assaults and rapes at Weinstein’s hands.
Their stories include the reason they waited so long to speak out and accuse Weinstein: fear. He was a powerful man, and he could ruin their careers and their lives if he wanted to. His power, wealth, and position meant he had a huge support network that enabled him to cover up his crimes. In an article in the New Yorker in which multiple women spoke about the different ways Weinstein allegedly assaulted them, they each say the same thing in many different ways:
“He drags your name through the mud, and he’ll come after you hard with his legal team.”
“I know he has crushed a lot of people before. That’s why this story—in my case, it’s twenty years old; some of them are older—has never come out.”
“If Harvey were to discover my identity, I’m worried that he could ruin my life.”
My darling girl, chances are you will never be an aspiring Hollywood actress or movie industry professional. Maybe you will, who knows? Regardless, what you need to understand is this, and I hate to tell you: there is no industry or profession where you are safe from this. In a world where sex is worshipped, where porn makes men feel like women want it all the time, where men come to believe they deserve it, where they see women as nothing more than a vessel to satisfy their sexual cravings, there will ALWAYS be men looking to abuse a place of power or authority to get them some.
This is a fact. A sad fact of the sinful nature of humans who cannot understand what it means to put themselves and their desires last.
Here’s another fact: there is nothing you could EVER do to deserve this treatment. One way men like Weinstein abuse their victims is by making them think it is their fault. Let me be LOUD AND CLEAR, daughter: there is nothing you could ever do to deserve to be sexually assaulted. There is nothing you could say or wear that would warrant that being done to you.
And there is no career goal you could ever achieve that is worth the desecration of your body and soul.
By God’s grace, I have never been in these women’s shoes. I pray and pray and pray you will never be either.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women will be raped in their lifetimes.
Typing that made me physically ill.
Many of these crimes will never be prosecuted. Because of shame and fear, sexual assault is VASTLY under-reported.
That means, my dear, that many women who are sexually assaulted are simply too scared to speak out. To report it to police. To seek justice for themselves. To prevent future victims.
Bearing that in mind, please hear me when I believe that the women who are speaking out against Harvey Weinstein are absolute heroes, no matter how long it has been since their abuses occurs.
But baby girl, if anyone ever makes unwanted advances on you in a professional setting or does anything sexually to you without your consent, I am begging you now to please SPEAK OUT as soon as you possibly can. Tell me. Tell a friend or boyfriend or husband, tell one of your brothers, tell the police, but TELL.
And for your own safety, for the safety of anyone else who may cross that man’s path, please, please tell sooner than later.
I fully understand why you wouldn’t want to.
And I pray I never have to look in your eyes and hear you say it.
But if you have to, I will be your SUPPORT and your CHAMPION, my girl. Never hold anything in to spare MY feelings. I will now and forever walk through FIRE for you.
I am so sorry that this is the world we live in, but I’d be doing you a disservice if I told you that it was not.
So now that you know, be FIERCE. Watch out for yourself, advocate for yourself, and speak up for yourself. It is women like you, girls of your generation, who I believe will be strong enough to start bringing sexual assault statistics DOWN. But for now, I promise you I am doing my part in speaking out for women and girls today.
I love you, My Girl. Be FIERCE.