An Open Letter to Everybody,
Because we All Need to Listen
When they say it happens to everybody, they’re not kidding. I’ve been trying to write this letter a number of times now, going back and forth about how I personally should approach an issue that has gained massive media attention over the past month and a half. You might be wondering what an eighteen year old girl knows about sexual harassment. You may think I have not had enough life experience to speak about an epidemic that has plagued so many men and women. But maybe that’s the problem right there. We’re saying I haven’t lived enough to speak for the number of times I am sure to be sexually harassed in my lifetime? As if getting catcalled on the street is more of a certainty than owning your first house, or getting your first promotion? When adults tell you that you have so much ahead of you, they’re usually referring to the possibilities that await you, the goals you will achieve and the dreams you will follow. Funny, the unwanted propositions from men sometimes twice your age seem to get excluded from that conversation.
I’m not going to throw out a bunch of statistics that are merely going to serve as a few numbers with no names to faces. These days, all you have to do is turn on the television. Harvey Weinstein. Al Franken. And most recently, Matt Lauer. These are the faces of people who make a living from being on our screens, some almost every day. We have worshipped some of them, glorified them due to their contributions to the entertainment industry and American culture itself. And yet here they are, on our screens once again. But this time, it is for a different reason. They are visual representations of an issue that is no longer just a bunch of numbers and anonymous stories.
Contrary to what some may believe, this epidemic is not just happening in Hollywood. Talk to any woman with enough life experience and they will tell you at least one story of a time when they faced harassment from a co-worker, a family friend, or someone just walking down the street. And I know that it is not just women who have fallen victim to sexual harassment, but the fact of the matter is that they tend to bear the bulk of it.
For those of you who say that people are overreacting, that this doesn’t happen, I envy you. I envy you because clearly you have never felt uncomfortable in a situation where all you desire is to feel respected. I envy you for never having to question whether or not someone would have treated you differently if you were not wearing a skirt. Because these are things that I, along with probably every other woman in America, have thought about at one time or another. I’m aware that in spite of all this, there are still great, caring and respectful people out there. To them I say thank you, and keep up the good work. To the others though, know that your time has come. Women are done being polite. No longer will we stand for things that have been tolerated for years. Hope you had your fun, but the show’s over. And sorry Harvey, but I don’t think you’ll be making money off of this production.
Thank you for listening.