Opinion

Ms M: Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?

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Ms M: Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?

In light of the Harvey Weinstein fiasco, I’d like to remind everyone of a few things.

Sex addiction is not a real diagnosis. It was made up by people in the addiction business, and is used as an excuse by misogynistic selfish men to dismiss their behavior. If someone claims they’re addicted to sex, they have deeper underlying mental health problems which they are masking and coping with via sex. 

Be it Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, Harvey Weinstein, or Donald Trump, it’s not about sex for them—it’s about power. Real men don’t have to convince, coerce, manipulate, assault, rape, exploit, or bully anyone to get pussy—or self-validation. Those who do are in need of some serious social and emotional intelligence skills. 

Stop asking why it took so long for so many women to speak up and speak out. Imagine someone so powerful, they could completely blacklist you from your industry, kill your career and lifelong dreams, threaten harm against you and your family, then sick their legal team on you, driving you into debt for the rest of your life. Ever hear of Sheena Monnin

Rape culture has become so ubiquitous in society, it rears its ugly head in every other type of injustice, whether it’s slut-shaming, groping, or assault. When a woman does have the courage and bravery to speak out as a lone voice, the first question she often faces is, “What were you wearing?” followed by the likes of, “Why were you walking alone at night? Were you drunk? Why were you alone with him?” Cultural conditioning has taught us to blame the victim rather than the perpetrator. Perhaps that’s because culture also dictates that men are uncontrollable animals and women are helpless prey who must vigilantly protect and cover themselves at all costs. But wait, this isn’t Afghanistan, is it? This the land of the free and the brave! The land of bold women and the heroic cowboys who love them! The place where, as a female, I can leave my apartment at 9PM and not fear for my life, nor an assault on my body. Or is it?

It shouldn’t take having a daughter for a man to be able to see the world through a woman’s eyes. It shouldn’t take multiple women speaking out against one man for her to be believed, much less the process of justice to begin. Sadly it seems, one voice is never enough. And that’s exactly why so many women, in their trauma, pain, exhaustion, shame, and fear, find it easier to never speak the truth and simply carry on, forever affected.

Had Brock Turner not been caught red-handed in the act, do you really think there would have even been a trial? He was portrayed in the media as the poor victim, the star athlete whose career was ruined, all for “20 minutes of action”, as his father put it. Side note: I’m fairly positive the 20 minutes included the time he was being held down by the heroes who caught him, waiting for the police to arrive. Even though he was found guilty, he was sentenced to a mere six months and served only three. The young woman who was raped had to face him in court and will live with that trauma—and subsequent injustice—for the rest of her life. Is it any wonder we don’t speak out, considering how America’s justice system fails women time and time again?

33. The number of women it took to come forward against Harvey Weinstein to be believed, against enormous threat of legal retaliation. 58. The number of women who came out against Bill Cosby, and yet still there was a hung jury. 16. The number of women who came forward with allegations against Bill O’Reilly, yet it still took 480,000 signatures, millions of dollars in payouts, and a protest outside of Fox News before he was fired. More than 20. The number of women who came out against Roger Ailes before he resigned. 

Dave McClure at 500 Startups has had at least three women speak out about him on record, but the first complaint of sexual assault apparently wasn’t enough to take any meaningful action.

And yet, even while we all know now that these pathetic excuses for men are guilty, many of these women still face legal threats from the men who violated them, simply for saying, “This happened to me.” 

How many more are silent?

Would you want your mother, grandmother, sister, wife, or daughter to live through such a horrendous experience and never see justice served?

In no particular order:

90% of murderers are men. 
98% of mass shooters are men. 
Half of all women killed in 2012 were killed by their intimate partner or family member. 
1 in 10 girls globally have experienced forced intercourse. That’s 120M girls. 
1 in 4 female undergraduate students are sexually assaulted every year.  
600 women per day in the US are raped or sexually assaulted.
3 women per day in the US are killed by their intimate partners. 

Rape and assault can happen to men too, but at an extremely smaller ratio. The same toxic masculinity that perpetuates rape culture deems men weak if they admit to any type of violation; furthermore it oftentimes punishes men for challenging the predators and coming to the defense of women. And yes, there have been far too many women complicit alongside these monstrous men who’ve abused their power over the years (especially in Weinstein’s case), but perhaps they too, were just as scared as those who were violated. 

Society desperately needs balance and equality in order to thrive, which means we need rape culture to stop seething into every other aspect of our daily lives. It’s time we all take a stand to be better humans and work to shift our culture. We are better than this!

Today, I call on women to stop shaming other women. Do not question your girlfriends when they share their truths of pain and horror with you. Believe them. Love them. Support them. Do not stand by in complicity. Do not tell them they were asking for it or leave them alone with the monster you work for. Practice cultivating compassion and love the moment you feel the threat of competition from another woman. And for God’s sake, boycott the f*ck out of Donna Karan

Finally, I call on all men, REAL men, of honor and greatness, to stand-up, speak out, and try your hardest every day to see the world through the lens of a woman. Cultivate empathy. Speak out against the powerful rather than enable them. Be the voice for us when we are too hurt, too scared, too traumatized, and too downtrodden to speak at all. I know you’re out there, Great Men. I know you’re bigger than the bullies. I know you’re stronger and more loving and kind. We need you, now more than ever. We need our heroes.

SOS.

 

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