Legend says that at this time of year, St. Nick is making his list and gonna find out whose naughty or nice. But this year, the media beat him to it, exposing an extensive record of A-list celebrities who have done unthinkable things to women. Men that we once looked up to now make us squirm with their mere mention. This expose will surely continue to grow.
But what about the men who are not famous enough or powerful enough or threatening enough or fill-in-the blank enough to make headlines? I have something to say to them: You’re next.
These men are not actors or politicians, they are our co-workers, our neighbors, our classmates and our peers. They live and work among us, and it is time that they were exposed as well. They shouldn’t be able to slide just because they aren’t household names.
Just saying ‘zero tolerance’ won’t end sexual harassment. CEOs must back that up.
I wonder how they are feeling, the ones who aren’t famous and aren’t caught but are out there. Are they scared? Remorseful? Indignant?
Like Hester who was forced to walk around with a scarlet A to let the world know she was an adulteress, these men should be forced to wear their own identifying mark to warn women.
To the man that sit with his legs wide open on the subway just to touch our legs: You are next. To the frat boy who thought you wanted it: You are next. To the guys who masturbate in front of us in alleyways: You are next. To the dudes at bars who think ‘well she was drunk, so it’s OK’ to have their way with her: You are next.
Matt Lauer and other misbehaving media men may be misogynists, but that isn’t why Clinton lost
To the men who try to kiss us at company parties; the guy who put a roofie in your drink; the boy who shouted vulgar expletives when you passed by; the boss who stared down your blouse; the uncle who touched you; the family friend who breathed on you; the teenager who groped you: You are next.
While I’m revolted at all that’s been uncovered, I am not in disbelief. I, like most women, have been a victim of sexual harassment since I can remember. It is something I have come to accept and internalize. The fact that now, with so much exposure, these actions are finally being held accountable fills me with delight — a sense of relief I never thought I’d feel.
Some people think this is going too far. How will people date now? What of the reputation of these men in power? She deserved it. I say let’s reexamine our ideals and update our lives to align with the current cultural shift.
Warning signs of sexual harassment can’t be ignored like Filner was
The #metoo movement has unleashed a rash of personal stories from women who have been harassed. The numbers are so vast that if combined, they could fill an entire city, state perhaps even a country. We have been silent for too long. Let’s scream out their names and let them feel the shame for once.
I can’t help but think how different my life would have been if people had spoken up earlier. How many hands would have thought twice before touching, how many words would have been muted? I am here to start a new movement. For those men who are doing wrong, #youtoo will have your day.
You’re on my list. My greatest wish this holiday season is for a world without misogyny, where women are free to exist unscathed and not simply be judged because of the chromosomes they were given.
Elana Rabinowitz is a freelance writer; Twitter: @ElanaRabinowitz. She wrote this for the Baltimore Sun.