Am I alone in feeling disturbed by the tumult of hatred that has been, and continues to be, directed at Harvey Weinstein, a man of whom I had never heard until a couple of weeks ago? Have I missed something or is he yet to be charged, let alone convicted of a crime? It seems that people can be pilloried by the media so quickly these days and there is no going back once the genie is out of the lamp. This man’s reputation is in ruins – maybe justifiably. He has made mistakes, by his own admission, but if the intense media witch hunt continues, there could be tragic results.
Abuse of power is abhorrent, rape even more so – there is no question about that – but times have changed and women are now able, thankfully, to speak out about these incidents with the knowledge that they will be heard and believed.
Growing up in the 70s and 80s was not the same. Sex education at an all girls school taught us to “Jump up and put the kettle on if boys get too keen. If you let them go too far, they won’t be able to help themselves”. The clear message was that it was the girl’s fault if unwanted attentions went too far. And we took that on board. We kept quiet out of shame. Or we shouted “rape” knowing that would absolve us of responsibility, or of contributing in any way to a situation that escalated. I don’t know what sort of advice was given to young men but, if it was similar, they might well have felt it was OK to “go for it” – sometimes they might strike lucky.
There must be many, many men feeling a bit uncomfortable right now about past behaviour. There but for the grace of their “victims” go they, and how long will that grace last now that the victims have found their collective voice?
One man cannot be made the scapegoat for his generation and I think that Harvey Weinstein must have numerous replicas, whatever the reality of his behaviour.
Let’s apply some reason to this situation; calm it down a bit. Does anyone agree?