One year later, what’s changed?
It’s been one year since the sexual assault allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein ignited the #MeToo movement, said Riley Griffin, Hannah Recht, and Jeff Green in Bloomberg.com, and the headlines since then have been “dizzying.” At least 429 prominent individuals, mostly men, have been accused of misconduct ranging from lewd comments to serial rape. The #MeToo hashtag has appeared in almost 14 million tweets over the past year. “This is just the beginning,” said Julianne Escobedo Shepherd in Jezebel.com. Powerful men such as Weinstein, comedian Bill Cosby, numerous corporate executives, and dozens of politicians are finally facing consequences for their actions. And despite Republicans’ confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in defiance of sexual assault allegations, society is tilting toward believing victims for the first time in our history.
I wish I could be so optimistic, said Roxane Gay in The New York Times. Many of the disgraced men outed by #MeToo are now reportedly eyeing comebacks, including former Today host Matt Lauer and comedian Louis C.K. In recent weeks, journalist John Hockenberry and musician Jian Ghomeshi published self-pitying essays about how their lives have been “ruined.” How telling that “instead of self-reflection, men would reflect on how they had been harmed by their own bad behavior”—with no awareness of how much pain they’ve caused their victims. #MeToo hasn’t made me feel “any safer or more empowered,” said Bre Payton in TheFederalist.com. The movement has become radicalized by far-left feminists who turn gray-area encounters into assaults. “Do we want to live in a world where the details of a bad date could end up in the front pages of every major newspaper?”
One year in, #MeToo has just begun “the campaign to change our sexual culture,” said Alyssa Rosenberg in The Washington Post. Many very hard questions still need to be addressed. How do we determine guilt or innocence in cases that don’t end up in court? Given the range of transgressions, from gross come-ons to physical assault, “how do we make sure the penalty matches the harm done?” What are the terms under which some offenders should be forgiven? These questions couldn’t be answered in one year, but we’re finally starting to try. “The agonizing stories we’ve heard over the past 12 months have done a great deal to make it possible to do that work at all.”