The Heavy Winestain saga is one describing a nasty bully, who is a famous, rich and successful movie producer. On 5 October 2017, the New York Times published a story detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment. More than 90 women including leading actresses and people of great talent and influence, have made accusations of sexual harassment, assault or rape; reports go back as far as the 70’s.
The frenzied reaction has been incredible: after conviction by the media, despite protestations of consensual participation, he was pilloried. Vengeance has been sanctified and the lynch mob been swift and savage:
- Without benefit of trial he has been condemned, castigated, ostracised;
- had all his honours and awards withdrawn and
- the man and his company and other organisations with whom he worked have been slapped with claims for $ millions in damages.
In a snowballing reaction many women and some men who allege unwelcome propositions or harassment by other men, have raised their voices saying #MeToo! More people have had their careers and reputations shattered by lynch mobs with untested allegations.
The outrage has been so holy that women have been castigated for expressing some hesitation over condemnation on the basis of mere allegations of ancient conduct.
It seems that the principles of justice like due process and the statutes of limitations are not applicable.
Winestain was someone who could grant access to stardom: he must have been besieged by many people willing to give their all for a break … one has heard about the casting couch after all.
A number of women said NO! to unwanted advances and nothing happened. Some women suffered more than one instance of unwanted attention – why did they expose themselves to that risk again? … and why the delay in reporting…? why were they there in the first place….?
Would it be that they didn’t get what they wanted after they kissed the frog a second time?
He has never been criminally charged for crimes of a sexual nature. Even Saddam Hussein had a trial!
Don’t get me wrong: I deplore the abuse of power in order to achieve personal advantage – I also hate bullies. But I get very suspicious when I hear that over 90 intelligent, talented people were cowards – I smell more than one rat. It seems bullying begets bullying!
In all of your life there are are going to be some people bigger or stronger, richer or more powerful, or cleverer and meaner than you.
How do you survive?
- Avoidance is a good idea;
- so is shouting No! leave me alone!
- a slap in the face or a kick in the nuts can be deterrent,
- walking away and calling for help;
- reporting and drawing attention are all clever things to do… or
- … you could trade for something he wants…. (just make sure you get before you give!)
The main thing is, be clever about it: tell others, warn them and stand by them in their time of need, make a noise, shine a light … run fast!
6 thoughts on “Kissing Frogs: is lynching the antidote?”
Imagine ” Bulawayo Charge Office 1973 and a woman walks in and says a guy touched my bum 20 years ago and now want to charge him with Crimen Injuria. Within 10 seconds booth buttocks would have been bouncing down the Charge Office steps back into the great wide world. The careful checks and balances in Rape cases were well thought out. I have seen a fairly large number of women alleging rape after being dumped or having arguments with their man. Considering how serious the consequences were for the falsely accused man one had to be careful. On the other side there were also very sympathetic investigations carried out by WPO’s Having said this Harvet W is probably a pretty scummy type – although unproven as yet. The trading of sexual favours for fame, glory and wealth has been going on since Neanderthal Ugg organised the first fertility dances. And good for Germain Greer and a few others for telling it like it is. A good slap in the chops would stop it and maintain the woman’s integrity. Genuine rape accompanied by force and violence deserves a proper sentence
While completely agreeing that a person is innocent until tried and proven guilty, and that awards for achievement should not be withdrawn retrospectively, with respect, gentlemen, I don’t think you’ve got it.
Imagine the woman in the Bulawayo charge office in 1973 reporting her case when it happened in 1953 – how would it have been received then? And to trivialise MeToo events as ‘a pat on the bum’ … What if the ‘pat on the bum’ produced ‘a good slap on the chops’ which then led to ‘genuine rape accompanied by force and violence.’ That’s what women fear.
My own MeToo event was not a pat on the bum, nor was it rape. Have any of the women you know had a MeToo experience?
Most of the dot point suggestions for escape in the blog would work very well in today’s world and I hope today’s young women would feel able to do that. And particularly the advice not to stand by, but call it out for what it is. I hope all men are heeding this advice as well.
But for those days, and for those young actresses who were confronted by a locked door, or were perhaps under contract to the man’s organisation, I doubt it was an option. There is more than one who claims that her career came to a halt or that she got no further work as a result of her ‘No’.
But the last dot? ‘trade for something he wants’? The whole point is that he wants something she doesn’t want to give.That trade is called prostitution in anybodies language and why should a woman be forced to do that?
I thought words would fail me.
The last point was not well expressed: what was meant was that if a choice is made to kiss a frog, make sure that the reward is guaranteed…!
Consent to unwanted advances to keep one’s job is an unfair and terrible choice.
Frog kissing and consensual quid pro quo could probably all fall under the title of prostitution.
Thank you for your words that didn’t fail.
Well said Rosemary Dawes. Thank goodness someone has found the words to respond rationally to both blog and responder. Both are marked by smug and dismissive humour and illustrate exactly the attitudes which have made it almost impossible for women to speak out before. It is not dissimilar to the way the Catholic Church covered up ongoing abuse….should the church and the offending priests be protected by a statute of limitations because it has taken time and a shift in cultural norms for victims to feel able to speak out?
As for the comment: “I have seen a fairly large number of women alleging rape….”. This reflects one of many rape myths such as “You can’t thread a moving needle “ and others. The truth is that the incidence of fake rape charges is very low and the myths reflect the same trivialisation and dismissal of women’s experience expressed in this blog.
I detect an odour of sanctity. There is no trivialisation nor dismissal of womens’ experience intended. Some women seem to believe that their gender was the only one subjected to inappropriate, power based abuse. That is not so.
The blog was intended to highlight the neglect of due process and the automatic assumption of guilt and innocence based solely on gender.
Odour of sanctity? We aren’t dead yet, Jill and I. Nor likely to be saints, speaking for myself.