Jumping back to Emma’s post, she questions why is it so hard for society to believe the stories of victims of abuse. I related to how Emma felt as she read Zulus and how she questioned the legitimacy of Alice’s pregnancy. It could have been the science side of me but I also had a hard time understanding the certainty of Alice’s thoughts, to the point where I forgot the violent cause of her first pregnancy. Only after I reflected upon my own reading of Zulus (as prompted by Emma’s post), did I realize my mind horrifically blocked out Alice’s trauma. Unfortunately, I also realized that it is not the only moment in which I have done so.
In terms of sexual harassment and assault, the first thing that comes to mind is the #MeToo campaign, which was created by Tarana Burke “to promote ‘empowerment through empathy’ among women of color who have experienced sexual abuse, particularly within underprivileged communities” in 2006. Alyssa Milano recently revived the movement in the hopes that “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” After hundreds of thousands of people spread the post, I felt as though the campaign was losing momentum. I began to feel paranoid in who was genuinely labeling themselves as a supporter of the movement due to my past experiences with people who inappropriately labeled themselves as allies of the LGBTQ+ movement.
Before movements like the #metoo campaign existed, people often swept sexual harassment, abuse, and assault under the metaphorical rug. Society often blamed the victim for what they were wearing, how much they drank, or any other excuse they could scrounge up to excuse “boys for being boys.” As awful as it sounds, some people may not care as much because of two circumstances: sexual harassment has never had a part in their life and they may not see it as severe of a crime in comparison to something like murder. Oftentimes, some are even afraid of admitting and recognizing sexual assault as a problem because those in their inner circle may consist of those who joke about and brush off sexual assault. By openly opposing the crime, these people may lose their support system so, ironically, they allow for others’ support systems to crumble for their own to remain.
I bring up such morbid points to remind everyone (as well as myself) to keep in mind this “famous” quote: “MUTATO NOMINE DE TE FABULA NARRATUR,” translated as “with the name changed, the story applies to you.”