Can we please stop being surprised about sexual assault?
Originally Published on Medium - Nov 12, 2017
Since the Harvey Weinstein allegations, there have been dozens of men accused of sexual assault, and it is already time to stop being surprised by that.
It is time to stop being surprised that powerful white males sexually assaulted women in the past. Yes, these acts are inexcusable, but they are not unexpected. We knew this happened; we know this still happens.
Society has known for a long time that this was going on; it is good that the dominoes are finally falling, but to continue to act surprised each and every time allegations come out against someone new is counter to the open and honest discussion we should be having about it. To be shocked and awed is refusing to admit the reality, that this isn’t surprising at all.
That is how the world was, and how the world still is in many cases. We should absolutely be calling all of these men out, and making them pay for their actions. But the first step into actually dealing with this problem is to admit that it is systemic, to not pretend that these are 40 or 50 standalone cases. This has always been the situation, and continues to be in offices and college campuses around Canada and the US today.
I view it as completely analogous to the US gun safety debate. Acting surprised each time there is a mass shooting, not believing that it could happen again, does not help solve the problem. It is widely accepted that the way to solve the gun problem is to first admit that it exists and pervasively as it does; so too is that already the case with sexual assault.
For a more in depth take on the issue, I recommend you check out: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/opinion/fallon-resign-weinstein-harassment.html