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The #MeToo Avalanche

The #MeToo Avalanche

The #MeToo Avalanche
October 26
14:56 2017

Eva Reinoso Tejada

#MeToo has made waves in social media and the world. It was about time that this happened. All the conditions were there for the avalanche. Avalanches can be triggered by the fall of a small rock, or even a loud noise. But the conditions must be there. These conditions are strong winds, a quick thaw, and the angle of the slope. I am talking about the avalanche of denounces of sexual harassment.

This avalanche was overdue to happen. The rock was that article published by the New York Times, uncovering all of Harvey Weinstein disgraceful mishaps. As the news started to burn the social media platforms, an unbelievable number of artists and other women who worked for him or around him came forward with their own stories. Some were told to watch him bathe, others were demanded to give him a massage. And those are probably not the worst. The one thing in common was the threat that their careers would not prosper unless they went along with his heinous requests.

Particularly interesting was the testimony of Zelda Perkins, his former assistant. She worked for Weinstein 19 years ago and, as customary in the industry, signed a strict non-disclosure agreement (NDA), which she faithfully honored, until now. During an interview with the Financial Times, she said “I want to publicly break my non-disclosure agreement… Unless somebody does this, there won’t be a debate about how egregious these agreements are and the amount of duress that victims are put under. My entire world fell in because I thought the law was there to protect those who abided by it. I discovered that it had nothing to do with right and wrong and everything to do with money and power.” She left her job back then after a colleague had been sexually assaulted by this man. There was a settlement after that, also tied to a strict NDA.

The avalanche came to fruition, with the buildup of scandals like that of Bill Cosby, the Bill O’Reilly, and Roger Ailes, to mention the most recent. The creepy common denominator is the game of power and control. The predictable assumption that “if you want to advance your career, you must do this or that.” Predatorial behavior. Abuse of power. The modus operandi involves someone in a visible position of power and who is not afraid to use it to fulfil his darkest desires. And behind that behavior is a whole industry that looks “the other way”, because the guy is a genius, or has good ratings, in the hopes that it won’t come out and bite anybody in their rear end. Well, it just did. Not only in showbiz. Women across the labor force are coming out with their stories.

I should also mention that in the Latino culture I grew up, this is all way too normal. Maybe not the graphic episodes of physical force. But the advances were always there. Girls grow up knowing where not to be, in order to prevent a complicated situation. It is just how it is. You grow up with that intuition. I have always thought that was a good skill to have, and it has certainly worked for me. But in the end, it saddens me that women must go through life with their guards up, so they are not attacked (sigh!).

There is only one more place where I would like to see the #MeToo: The White House. We have a confessed, but not convicted, Predator in Chief. Maybe he is not flat out a rapist, we don’t know, and the law says that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. But, by his own words, he is a grabber. Grabbing is not ok. And by being in a position of power, he is an abuser of power. And he is also the image of America. How sad!

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Edición Virtual | #317 | 19 de Julio 2018

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