It has been truly shocking and unnerving watching so many men in positions of power, crumbling—their careers literally destroyed in an instant due to sexual misconduct allegations. The claims of harassment are coming forth by the hour around the globe.
Ontario’s provincial Progressive Conservative party leader, Patrick Brown was forced to resign suddenly overnight, after allegations by 2 women of sexual assault. Brown made a quick public announcement shortly prior to the allegations were made public, categorically denying them, saying he would fight them with every resource available to him. However, opposition in his party was so strong he had no choice but to resign. This is particularly shocking since Brown was poised to be the next premier of Ontario in an election only 4 months away.
Only a week prior, former US gymnastics team physician Larry Nassar was sentenced to 40-175 years for sex crimes. More than 160 girls, women, and parents came forward with their stories of the effect of his abuse on their lives. One mother spoke of her daughter’s pain that caused her to take her life.
Even in a seemingly perfectly structured society such as Norway’s, with its’ high ethics in gender equality, cracks have been exposed with the recent resignation of the deputy leader of the opposition Labour party in the country amid allegations of inappropriate behavior from mostly anonymous women accusers. This was followed shortly by the mayor of a town called Moss.
More skeletons in the closet have been exposed by Norwegian police currently, who have uncovered 151 alleged cases of sexual assaults and dozens of rapes in Tysfjord, a small community in Lapland.
Some may say that society is cruel and unfair to these men. That they deserve their day in court before being exposed in the media. However, once allegations have been made, guilty or not and to what degree becomes irrelevant. These men are forced to resign from their positions of power and their careers destroyed in an instant. People in power hold the public’s trust, and once that trust is shattered, it’s almost impossible to regain it. They can be sorry publicly, but society finds some things unforgivable and sexual misconduct and abuse of power is one of them.
It is not only politicians that are affected, the arts, the entertainment industry, journalism, education and any work environment is under scrutiny. The young and the powerless will no longer pay the price.
The #MeToo movement was born from the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Harvey Weinstein was one of the most powerful men in the movie and entertainment industry. Previously known for producing films such as Pulp Fiction (1994), Good Will Hunting (1997) and Shakespeare in Love (1998), for which he won an academy award, and co-founding the Miramax film company, and more recently the Weinstein Company. By October of 2017 over 80 women have come forward with allegations against Weinstein.
The #MeToo social media movement of 2017 has been hugely successful, empowering women to come forward with their personal experiences of assault. No longer are women going to allow their abusers to continue with successful lives while they suffer from past abuse.
Actresses attending the 2018 Golden Globe awards dressed in black evening gowns to recognize the impact of the #MeToo movement. The most moving of all speeches came from Oprah Winfrey during her acceptance speech for the Cecil B. De Mille award proclaiming to all the young girls watching that “there is a new day on the horizon!”
#MeToo sends a strong message to all those in positions of power, that sexual abuse will not be tolerated, not now and not ever.