In 2006, a Black woman named Tarana Burke founded the Me Too movement. She moved quietly in underprivileged communities where her activism was most needed. In 2017, Alyssa Milano, in response to a New York Times article detailing decades of sexual assault and harassment by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, asked women to tweet “Me Too” if they’d been the victims of sexual assault or harassment. The hashtag became Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
We used to disregard the role of social media to affect real change, but the 2016 election showed us how powerful it could really be. Me too moved from a viral hashtag to empowering women to call out and, in many cases, report the perpetrators of sexual violence. The hope was that ‘boys will be boys‘ just wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Bill Cosby’s 2018 conviction and sentence gave breath to that hope.
Weisntein was accused of over 100 assaults, rapes and your ordinary run of the mill being a skeever at work. And yet, when you google ‘serial sexual rapist‘ he doesn’t appear in any of the lists. In February, he was convicted of two counts of sexual assault and one count of rape. Before he was sentenced, he addressed the Court. An accused’s statement to the court can make a huge difference. The whole goal of the defense presentation is to make it really hard for the judge to sentence you to a long prison term. You want the judge to squirm a bit, to feel bad about it. What you don’t wan to do is say anything at all like this:
“I’m not going to say these aren’t great people. I had a wonderful time with these people. I’m confused, and I think men are confused,” he continued, turning his attention back to the #MeToo movement. “I think about the thousands of men and women who are losing due process, and I’m worried about this country.”USA Today, March 2020
Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison. He has lots of time to work out his confusion.