Has #MeToo made a difference? | The Tylt

Has #MeToo made a difference?

The Senate has voted to move forward with Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the Supreme Court despite allegations from several women that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted and harassed them in his youth. The vote comes one year to the day after The New York Times published it's landmark investigation in to reports that Harvey Weinstein had, for years, assaulted and harassed women, only to pay them for their silence. The report kicked off the second wave of the #MeToo movement, initially started in 2017 by activist Tarana Burke. Has it really made a difference?

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The Cut has published a striking timeline of all #MeToo related allegations and updates from the last year. Reading through the exhaustive list, what's stunning is the speed with which so many of the men who have been caught up in #MeToo are already marching towards their comebacks. 

Thus began the post-Weinstein reckoning: Women started speaking out more and more about harassment and assault in the wake of the initial “silence breakers” (as they came to be called), and many expected that finally holding powerful people accountable for their alleged misdeeds would usher in unprecedented social change. A year later, however, many of the men exposed by #MeToo are quietly planning comebacks, and the Senate is poised to confirm a man with multiple sexual-assault allegations to the Supreme Court.

The movement, which felt inevitable and powerful only a year ago feels like it has not only lost momentum, but is being actively turned back. 

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On the other hand, comedian Bill Cosby, who, for years had merely brushed off rape allegations, was finally convicted and sentenced to jail time. The verdict has been directly connected to the heightened awareness from #MeToo.

Comedian Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years in state prison and classified as a “sexually violent predator” for the 2004 assault of Andrea Constand on Tuesday.
Cosby, 80, has been accused of rape or sexual assault by over 60 women, though the statue of limitations has expired in the majority of their cases. (In 2015, 35 of them shared their stories with New York Magazine.) In 2015, three assault charges were filed against Cosby based on Constand’s allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted her a decade prior; at the time, she was working for the women’s basketball team at his alma mater, Temple University. That case ended in a mistrial in June 2017.
But between then and his retrial in April 2018, the Harvey Weinstein allegations became public and kicked off the #MeToo era, as well as a renewed cultural conversation about sexual assault and power. Five other women who had accused Cosby of assault were permitted to testify during the trial, and the jury reached a verdict in about 13 hours. He was found guilty of one count of penetration with lack of consent, one of penetration while unconscious, and one of penetration after administering an intoxicant.
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One of the many men who was accused of sexual harassment and assault after the beginning of #MeToo, Jian Ghomeshi, a Canadian radio host, was accused of "choking, slapping, and abusing women." Less than a year after the allegations against him became public, Ghomeshi recently penned an essay for The New York Review of Books entitled "Reflections from a Hashtag." Ruth Spencer, who has written previously about dating Ghomeshi, wrote about the essay for The Cut

In what the NYRB has cutely titled “Reflections from a Hashtag,” Ghomeshi reflects on what it’s like to go from being a celebrity to an “outcast.” He describes the depression, self-loathing, and professional consequences he’s experienced since 2014, when multiple women alleged that he’d subjected them to physical and sexual violence. (The case eventually went to trial, where Ghomeshi faced four counts of sexual assault and one count of overcoming resistance by choking, but was ultimately acquitted.) In the four years since the trial concluded, Ghomeshi recounts being abandoned by his closest confidants, contemplating suicide. “There has indeed been enough humiliation for a lifetime,” he writes.

Audiences were furious with the sympathetic way Ghomeshi was treated by the publication and the editor of The New York Review of Books, Ian Buruma left his position in response to the criticism.

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Journalist Lauren Wolfe, responded to a Tweet from Jodi Kantor, one of the original authors of the Weinstein story. Wolfe pointed out that there was a sharp increase in coverage of sexual assault in the last year, across subjects, in direct correlation with the #MeToo movement. 

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Louis C.K., formerly one of the country's most respected comedians, was one of the first men to be outed during #MeToo after years-old rumors of sexual misconduct became public. C.K. had exposed himself to numerous female comedians, many of whom felt their interactions with him had ruined their careers moving forward. In the last month, he has taken the stage at the legendary Comedy Cellar in New York twice, kicking off his "comeback." Per the Huffington Post

The disgraced comedian popped into the club for a surprise set on Sunday night for the second time since last fall, when he admitted to sexual misconduct, and HuffPost spoke to two people who were in the audience.
“When [Louis C.K.] got up he expressed gratitude for the cellar/audience having him, and that he knows not everybody is happy about him performing,” James Richards wrote in an email, adding that the comedian never specifically apologized or addressed his sexual misconduct against a number of female comedians.
Another person at the show, who asked to remain anonymous because the individual did not want attention, corroborated that account, saying that Louis C.K. “made a joke about how it wasn’t ‘unanimous’ that people were excited to see him.”
“He talked about how he took a ‘really long break’ and was coming back now, but beyond those two mentions, didn’t really acknowledge his past / the allegations,” wrote the audience member via email.
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Some, like writer Anne T. Donahue, said that even though change has not been steady, nor has it been easy, women are still motivated and mobilized. 

Your stories matter. You matter. And the right people will fight for you until we've all turned to dust. This last year has been a nightmare -- this week, especially. But you are not alone and you don't have to endure it alone. We are in this with you. You are strong and brave.
And truly, those behind Kavanaugh, those who defend rape culture, those who dismiss survivors: get fucked. Your time is up, and we all know it -- your tantrums are giving your fear away. Which is good. Your fear is justified.
Norms only exist as long as the majority doesn't question them. But look how many questions are finally being raised. You dismantle and obliterate a centuries-long tradition of rape culture by chipping away at the foundation. So we keep doing just that.
FINAL RESULTS
Politics
Has #MeToo made a difference?
A festive crown for the winner
#ForwardWithMeToo
#NoChangeFromMeToo