I don’t necessarily like writing about things that I don’t know about, and whilst there have been many reports on Harvey Weinstein’s case, I don’t think I am capable enough on writing a report on my own about the said case. What I can write is my own personal view on the trend (for lack of better word) of sexual harassment within the workplace.
I can’t speak on behalf of all women, but I can and will speak on behalf of my voice.
What constitutes as sexual harassment? Most, if not all, of the people I work with thinks that for an act to be considered as sexual harassment, some sort of sexual act must be performed. So, unless you were raped, surely it is no sexual harassment. But, what if the other party force themselves on you, such as forcibly kissing you, hugging, you, or show up in front of you butt naked? Is that sexual harassment? Some have agreed that it is a form of sexual harassment. But, what about other type of physical contact? Like if your colleague gave you unsolicited massage, caress your face, sent you text and call you ‘babe‘? Is that sexual harassment? This is where people starts to have differing opinions.
I think it still is a form of sexual harassment.
Here you can see a very simple explanation and examples of what is sexual harassment, made by the UN. One of the examples given gave me the assurances that the things I’ve witnessed and experienced myself were indeed a form of sexual harassment.
I am both angry and frustrated. I am angry at why things like that still happens, and I am angry because I let it happened to me and to other people, and I didn’t stop it. I am frustrated at why no one is realising and opening their eyes that sexual harassment is more than just being raped. Any form of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature is sexual harassment. I’m frustrated because I know, telling stories of sexual harassment is difficult, be it out of embarrassment (when you shouldn’t be), out of fear of backlash, or knowing that even if you are brave enough to come forward, you know it’s a lost cause because of the notion of “it’s not sexual harassment if you’re not raped”.
This is my post, the first that took me hours to consider whether or not I should publish. I’ll publish it, because I believe that I have a voice that needs to be heard. I’ll publish it, because this is my shout out to all the Harvey Weinsteins of the world. This is my middle finger to those who said sexual harassment is just an excuse prudish women used when other people were only trying to be friendly; well, touchy is not the same as friendly, mate.
Bogota, 13 October 2017
Dear the Harvey Weinsteins of the world,
This is our letter to you all. If you think your sexist and sexually related jokes will creep us out, yes you are right. If you think your unsolicited touch will scare us, yes you are right. If you think you can get away with all these sexual harassment, you are most definitely wrong.
We are allowed to be shocked and scared. We didn’t wake up in the morning to be sexually harassed, so when you do those things to us, it only made perfectly sense that we fear for our safety. What is not allowed of us, is to think that we don’t deserve justice, that we cannot fight for our rights, that we cannot right what is wrong.
Your touch disgust us. Your sneer infuriates us. Your jokes angers us.
You are completely in the wrong if you think we are going to sit on the sideline and let you walk away with it scot free. This time, we are fighting back. This time, you will hear our voice, you will respect us, and you will understand that no means no.
Sometimes we wonder, why is it that it took years for someone to come forward when they were harassed years ago? Fear of backlash, fear of being ostracised, and/or just generally feeling shocked and scared prevent them from coming forward. We are blessed that we’re not scared nor embarrassed about coming forward, but that doesn’t make the fight any easier. Sometimes your bravery alone is not enough.
Dear Harvey Weinsteins of the world, here’s a word of advice, your time is running out. Those you have wronged aren’t going to sit around anymore. They are fighting back. They are demanding their voices to be heard. They no longer fear anything, for this is not only their fight against you, Harvey Weinsteins of the world, but their fight to protect the innocent and those who would fall victim to you if we don’t fight now.
Those who are fighting back sexual harassment.
I wanted to write a short story, but at the last minute I thought that there have been way too many stories about sexual harassment, fictions and non fictions alike. Sexual harassment at work is something that is personal to me. I wanted to be able to convey my messages clearly. And to convey it through fiction would be difficult for me, only because I tend to talk is symbols and parables. That’s when the idea of writing a letter to all the Harvey Weinsteins of the world came to be. There are a lot of Harvey Weinsteins in this world, especially in the workplace. People of important positions who force their way on a weakling and always got away with it for years, due to the victim blaming culture. I want this letter to be a reminder to both Harvey Weinsteins of the world and to the victims too that their reign of terror is going to be over because we are now fighting back! And, yeah, you can always change the name to any sexual perpetrator’s name that you know of.