Monday, July 18, 2016

You've Got to be Kidding

So Gretchen Carlson at Fox News accused the CEO of that fine, upstanding (SNARK ALERT) media institution of sexual harassment and generally being a disgusting human being.

And of course, OF COURSE, some other ladies immediately came out and were like, NO, he would NEVER do something like that... because he never said anything like that to me.

Which, really? That's like Brock Turner's high school girlfriend saying that he couldn't possibly have raped someone because he never raped her.

Or like saying someone couldn't possibly be a murderer because, you know, they hadn't killed you.

I used to work with someone who sexually harassed me on the regular, and I felt like I couldn't complain because I was sure no one would believe me. The person in question had an excellent reputation, and to the best of my knowledge, didn't go out of his way to make other co-workers miserable because they wouldn't sleep with him, and I was new.  I was sure that if I said something, I would lose my job.

I was also sure that there would be a many women who defended him.  Because he'd never made their lives hell for not sleeping with him, he clearly could NEVER be guilty of such a thing, right?

In Carlson's case, the number of people who have come forward to say, No, never! have been tempered by other women who have come forward to say, Me too. But the "No never" people, the ones who categorically deny someone's claim of being mistreated or abused simply because they think they know the accused abuser and have not had personal experience with that behavior are part of the reason that sexual harassment and sexual assault are grossly underreported.

It makes me crazy. It's like -- when people of color say that they regularly experience discrimination and racism and other people say it can't possibly be true because they haven't experienced it or seen it themselves. Oh well then. Clearly it doesn't exist.

Maybe it's time we start listening to the stories people are telling instead of jumping to conclusions based on what we think that we know.

Maybe it's time to understand that finding something difficult to know or to hear doesn't make it acceptable to invalidate someone else's experience.

And maybe -- just maybe -- it's time to understand that just because it didn't happen to you doesn't mean it didn't or couldn't happen.

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