A few weeks ago, journalist Danielle Young at The Root published a recollection of her own #MeToo account. It’s worth the read. It’s not about being raped or molested. And for that reason, she almost didn’t write about it. It’s common for many to minimize their experience because it doesn’t involve being dragged into a dark alley and forcibly brutalized. But make no mistake: the indignities and assaults committed in broad daylight can also inflict their fair share of damage. One of the biggest reasons these events don’t get talked about is because women have often been taught that it’s better to be assaulted than be thought of as someone who is “dramatic.”
So we attempt to rationalize and even gaslight ourselves — trying to convince ourselves that what we’ve experienced isn’t real … or at least not that bad. And of course, these beliefs aren’t merely generated from internalized lessons. They are often overtly and explicitly stated by others. This is especially the case when the perpetrators are well liked or popular. This is why harassment can seem hard to navigate even, and especially, if done publicly. Is it better to laugh it off? Go with the flow? The result is often uncomfortable smiles or giggles as if the situation is no big deal. Yet it is. For the aforementioned complex reasons Danielle’s story of her encounter with acclaimed director John Singleton was met with disbelief and scorn by some. At the time I read her article one of the top commenters accused the author of making up her account. This person, who claimed to be present during the encounter, noted that from their perspective the author didn’t appear uncomfortable all the while she was being inappropriately touched and leered at. Never mind that this was during a professional...
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