If you follow me on twitter, you’ve already seen this thread. It sort of piggybacks off an old post I have. But, I think it’s an important idea.
I feel like one of the reasons people are often so quick to be silent, or maybe to even stand up for an assaulter/harasser/etc., is because they don’t wanna be one.
After being assaulted last year, I have been talking A LOT about sexual assault, and consent, and all the issues that surround all that with a lot of people (small groups, one-on-one, super publicly, etc.).
And in that time, I’ve heard a lot of stories in the same vein as this one. Some of the best people I know have a story of like “maybe we were a little too drunk… Maybe I was a little too pressuring… Maybe this, maybe that.
A LOT of people have these kinds weird, sort of uncomfortable stories about iffy times and how now that these conversations are out there, people are understanding consent in a different, sometimes clearer light… But in that clearer light, people look at their own past and they’re like *tugs at collar* “Oof! Was I being a little coercive? Was I not great in that situation?”
And then we see how in some weird slippery slope universe, we could’ve potentially been the ones who didn’t listen and overstepped a boundary, or we could’ve “misread” some signal. “We could’ve all been [Harvey, et al].”
But, no. I think a) these are different things.
And b) if we see any problematic behavior from our pasts, the answer is not to say “oh, well, actually, these people who do awful things are fine, because if they’re fine, then my tiny thing is super fine, and now I don’t need to have any reflection, or guilt, or learn anything, etc.”
*shakes head* No.
If you feel you “wronged” someone in your past, or made them uncomfortable, or crossed a line you shouldn’t have, and/or if you feel you understand consent better than you used to or something, handle that in any one of a ton of different ways you want – see if you can talk to that person and see if they’re okay/if they need an apology/if there’s anything you can do, maybe get therapy if you need it, pass your lessons on to others (as the article linked earlier does), become an advocate, treat everyone in your future better, give money to groups that help with this epidemic, and on and on.
Find any number of good and helpful ways to make the world better and to be a better person yourself. But don’t laud the “bad guys” in the hope that if the bad guys are okay, then you’re great. (Doing that *definitely* takes points away points from your greatness – which sounds like the opposite of the goal…)
Let’s all collectively be better. xoxo