The #MeToo Backlash: We Can Do Better
The #MeToo movement created a swarm of energy and dialogue around the topic of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.
We saw powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, Al Franken, Dr. Larry Nassar, and Kevin Spacey finally face some consequences for their legacies of abusive and harassing behavior. The movement spread beyond social media into churches and mosques, workplaces and doctors’ offices, campuses and sports arenas. So many brave survivors, including male survivors, came forward to share their stories. It felt like a moment when something might actually change.
But then we started to hear the backlash. We started to hear the concern that innocent men were being lost to a “witch hunt”. We heard that men didn’t know how to interact with their female colleagues without being accused of harassment. We heard that the consequences these abusers face is too severe. We heard that our safety is less meaningful than preserving the status quo.
I think we can all do better. I believe people of all genders can act respectfully. I believe anyone can make it through the work day without making their colleagues feel threatened or demeaned. And I believe when someone is abusive, we can and should call out that behavior. That person can and should face the consequences of their behavior. I’m not willing to shield abusive men, no matter how powerful or beloved.
I’m Lynnea Erickson Laskowski and that’s my perspective.