Weinstein through the lens of a female former law enforcement officer
Last week, the #MeToo movement was able to truly celebrate. Justice was done. Harvey Weinstein, the poster child, was given a twenty-three-year prison sentence. Yet what hasn't been discussed, and seems taboo, is what the victims might have done to prevent becoming victims. Further, is the #MeToo movement's response beyond what it should be? Is emasculating the male species the correct response?
My mother, of blessed memory, was a talented actress on Broadway in the '40s, even featured as part of a Life magazine spread. I once asked her, since she was so respected and talented, why she never took the opportunity to work in Hollywood. She replied in her dignified parlance that she knew how some actresses were becoming successful there and did not wish to "spend time on the casting couch."
Nothing has changed in the last 75 years. Some men will take advantage of women and use their power in heinous ways, as Weinstein did. Yet some women seeking success and knowing the price have been willing to pay that high price. Some women knowingly put themselves in these situations. Some women claim naïveté. Some women will dress provocatively and flirt and then cry sexual assault. No is no; however, the question is, why did they put themselves in that position?
In a prior career, I was a law enforcement officer when women were just beginning in this career path. I also counseled victims of sexual assault. There were some horrible situations where the woman was truly and completely victimized. However, there were others where, honestly, I felt that the woman, while a victim, knew full well what might happen when she put herself in that situation. In the former situation, I worked hard to get the women the help they needed and apprehend the perpetrators. I put in the same effort for the latter, but with the underlying knowledge that perhaps the victim may have had some responsibility in the outcome.
Some make fun of Vice President Pence for his caution in insisting because of his Christian principles that someone else be in attendance if he has a one-on-one closed-door meeting with a female colleague. Vice President Pence is looking smarter every day. In our observant Jewish world, some make fun of our young people of dating age because they generally don't touch until they get married. Yet for both our sons and daughters, it provides an important lesson in seeing each other for who they really are and not as objects.
Weinstein's sentence was just. What he did was evil. Nevertheless, we also need to stop the cultural emasculation of men. What we need to do for both young men and young women is to teach modesty, caution, and personal responsibility, including avoiding situations that could lead to horrific outcomes. #MeToo needs to understand this.
Miriam Ruth is the daughter of a former (deceased) New York actress and a former law enforcement officer.
Image: David Shankbone via Wikimedia Commons.