Is #MeToo Political?

Asking for a friend.

No. No it’s not. Abuse, sexual assault, violence against the vulnerable — these things are not political. They cross the entire political spectrum.

I asked the rhetorical question because I was informed this morning by a longtime reader that he would not be reading Broken Betties because #MeToo is political. Really?!

Has it been used for politics? Sure it has. So has racism, corporate amorality, government overreach, corruption, conspiracy…. there is very little touching our lives that hasn’t been used for politics. How boring would Scott Wolfe have been if there were no conspiracies, government corruption, corporate sponsored assassination, genetic manipulation of the human genome?

No. #MeToo is about victims finding their voices. It’s about victims speaking out under a banner so that other abuse and assault victims don’t feel they are alone, so they aren’t afraid to speak out about their experience… so that we may all see how widespread the phenomena actually is.

How prevalent abuse is comes as no surprise to me. In the 90s I was trained and served as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA). During my time there I discovered how widespread abuse was–I was surprised at the time. Those in the system know how far reaching it is. They see it every day. They watch as victim after victim is placed in the center of a well lit stage, asked penetrating, painful, humiliating questions, repeatedly until they break down,cave in, or simply withdraw. They also see victims who decide it’s not worth the anguish to pursue after seeing others get shot down, stifled, and brutalized a second time while trying to get some small measure of justice.

Sadly, as I saw even in my short stint as a CASA, the same perpetrators often show up repeatedly in the system, accused by an entirely new crop of victims. Those previous accusations that were brutally, painfully shot down, leaving the previous victims unwilling to speak out, are unusable when dealing with the predators in the system. That means not a single one of the previous cases can be brought forward in court. Juries cannot be told about the many previous cases that were dismissed or withdrawn. Judges, restrained by the ironclad rule of law, are not permitted to consider previous accusations of abuse if they did not result in a conviction. I’ve seen the pain on the faces of judges as they have to rule based only on the evidence before them, even though they know the history of the abuser, and his or her victims.

#MeToo is a tiny, insignificant badge that victims can wear, allowing them to show others that they aren’t the only ones who have been shut down, silently abused, or cheated by a world that just isn’t ready to see how deeply dysfunctional it is. But make no mistake, it isn’t political.

Broken Betties is a serial killer thriller. It’s two main protagonists, Georgia Hughes, a high school senior who, along with her best friend Josie, survive a killer’s knife in the opening scenes, and Reese Corel, a detective with the Lowder County Sheriff’s Department, are simply women. They are women who are not unlike the women around you every day. They are “normal”, apolitical, desperate, angry, afraid, and dealing with tragedy the only way their minds and experiences allow them to. It is not political. If you think female voices are political, then politics aren’t your problem.

Don’t let preconceived notions leave you blind to the reality of the pain and suffering around you. Smiling faces and cheerful demeanor are often a cover for deep scars… and sometimes they are just a joy for life. Learn to tell the difference and you become a better person.

 

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