The Me Too movement didn’t start in 2017 and it won’t end in 2019. Women have always faced sexual misconduct and without massive cultural and societal change, they will continue to.
The movement gained traction in 2017 with the original exposé of Harvey Weinstein in The New York Times. Women took down powerful men with their words and stories and started to create real change. There have been thousands of stories of different people sharing their traumas but for this article, I will focus on three cases with the woman as the accuser and a man as the accused.
Antonio Brown, a successful NFL wide receiver, was recently accused of sexual misconduct and rape by former colleague/trainer, Britney Taylor. He denies every allegation and believes that this is a “money grab” on the accuser's part. The Patriots and NFL have started their investigation into the allegations and for the meantime, Antonio Brown will remain an active player.
Taylor’s lawsuit may or may not be a plot to manipulate Brown for money, but it still needs to be taken seriously and investigated like any other crime. She shouldn’t be accused of trying to exploit Brown without evidence of that being true, just as much as Brown shouldn’t be falsely accused of assault if he is innocent. Only 2-8% of sexual assault cases are falsely reported, which is the same percentage for falsifying all types of crime.
Brett Kavanaugh is a supreme court justice who was accused of sexual assault by Christine Blasey Ford in 2018. She was scrutinized for not fully remembering the details of the assault, and some people like Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tried to use her lack of memory as evidence that her accusations were false, as reported in the Hill. Her motives were questioned, the details dissected and when things didn’t add up perfectly, she was slandered for lying.
Usually, the focus is on the victim to provide the details of the event to prove it occurred, but in most cases people who have experienced trauma are unable to recall such details. Memory doesn't work as a perfect recorder; there are gaps and holes, and especially in cases of trauma, victims often remember less due to a narrow focus on the assault, according to a video from Vox. In Ford’s case, there was a long period between the assault and the hearings; people argued that she had bad intentions based on timing, or that she couldn’t remember because of how long ago it was.
In either case, women have the impossible task of proving the assault occurred without a doubt to ensure punishment or justice. But sometimes, they don’t have even have the time to prove the action occurred because the statute of limitations has expired.
California passed a bill last year to extend the statute of limitations for sexual assault from two years to 10 years, as reported by KXTV. On average, victims take 11.3 months to report their assault, sometimes longer. By the time people are able to come forward they have lost their chance to get justice.
I spoke with Nicole Gillette, a sophomore film and television production major and asked her about her thoughts on the expansion of the statute of limitations. “I think it’s important that women have the time to come forward on their own terms and aren’t limited [by the law].”
Brock Turner was convicted of three felony charges in 2016, the crime has an average sentence of 14 years, but he only served three months of his six month sentence. Turner was a college student at the time and committed the crime after a college party. The judge gave him a lighter sentence to avoid ruining his life and his swimming career; but what about the person he raped, her life and her aspirations? In September 2019, Emily Doe identified herself as Chanel Miller after remaining anonymous during the trial.
Her life was forever altered by one night, one choice that someone else made — but the perpetrators in rape or sexual assault cases often get their life back. When guilty men don’t face consequences, we are telling boys that these horrendous acts are okay and that women are worthless in the eyes of the law.
Experiencing assault is a life-altering occurrence and it shapes so much of your life outlook and your world. Most women aren’t able to simply move on from their traumas, especially as 94% of women who experience sexual assault have some form of PTSD.
The Me Too movement has helped turn the tide. Victims, in some cases, have been able to get what they deserve. This is the beginning. We still have a long way to go.
This is the opinion of Sally Dean, a sophomore political science major from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Tweet comments to @LALoyolan or email comments to the firstname.lastname@example.org.