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The Antelope

The Antelope

The Antelope



In the wake of #MeToo, the American people were confronted with the stark realities of being a woman, and to a lesser-reported extent, being an LGBTQ+ person, in the workplace. Survivors of sexual assault, sexual harassment and other gender biased crimes were empowered, if only for a moment, to tell their stories, and in general, to be believed.

Since #MeToo, survivors learned they weren’t alone. Families wept at the realization that their own had been abused. Congress revamped its sexual assault policies, as did several state legislatures. Vermont passed what may have been the strongest legislative response to #MeToo aimed at preventing workplace harassment. 

Yet at the same time, Brock Turner sought a retrial. Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education rolled back protections for survivors. Bill Cosby was sentenced to as little as three years in prison. Urban Meyer continues to coach the Ohio State Buckeyes. The Senate stands all but ready to confirm an accused perpetrator to the Supreme Court. 

#MeToo helped survivors find their voice, but as #WhyIDidntReport is demonstrating, the culture has changed far too little. 

Survivors have shared their experiences, but many perpetrators haven’t answered for their crimes. Punishments are lenient. The phrase “boys will be boys” is tossed around in internet circles. In Nebraska, a first-degree sexual-assault conviction for a crime against a minor is necessary to terminate parental rights in the event a child is born as a result of sexual assault.

It’s time to believe survivors. It’s time to recognize the institutions and microaggressions that have relegated women to second class citizens. It’s time to reject these forces – not incrementally, but revolutionarily. A woman’s safety is worth much more than the false sense of security clinging to the past may afford us.

#WhyIDidntReport must come with policy and cultural change.

The statutes of limitations on sex and gender biased crimes must be extended.

Stricter punishments and stricter minimum sentences must be enacted.

The impact of the crime against the survivor must be more important than the impact of the punishment against the criminal.

Boys must be taught to respect girls.

Girls must be taught they are strong, not belligerent, for demanding such respect.

Men, women, politicians and citizens must be allies, not skeptics, of survivors.

We must #BelieveWomen.

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