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#Me Too has miles to go before we sleep

Susan Estrich on

I was encouraging other women to stand up and fight back and encouraging lawmakers to ensure that when we did, we had a fair chance. This is a victim's mentality?

"Victim" became such a dirty word that many of us took to calling ourselves "survivors," to try to signify that rape wasn't the end of life, which it isn't. But it isn't a trip to the dentist. Sure, there is a spectrum, and the spectrum matters, and what the man knows and intends matters. These are familiar concepts that should be applied in a fair process.

But please understand. I was a victim. It was not my fault. The pain gets dull, but it doesn't go away. It can mess up your life. Over the last 30 years, since I made it a practice to tell students the truth, I have counseled "victims" of everything from rape to dehumanizing bad sex. The latter is not a federal case. It's shabby behavior, and there's nothing wrong with calling someone on that. But this movement -- and it is a movement -- is not about bad sex. It is about victimization, because that's what happens when men abuse their power sexually.

And the movement won't end until the changes start coming. And keep coming. I know: My male friends are nervous. They worry that crazy girls from their past will come after them. I understand. I will help these friends if that happens. But the larger problem has to be addressed.

I talked to one of the smartest people I know, a leader in the entertainment industry. I asked him what he thought about "Me Too." Frankly, I expected the line about how it's gone too far, how innocent guys are afraid, etc. Nope. Like I said, he is scary smart. He said that he had talked to more than 50 of the most successful actresses he knows, from teenagers to women in their 70s. And not one, not two, not a handful but every single one of them told him that they had been sexually coerced by men with power over them and their careers. Every single one. And these are stars.

 

It has to stop.

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To find out more about Susan Estrich and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2018 Creators Syndicate Inc.
 

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