For some perspective on this Saturday’s “Me Too March” check out this recent interview of Rebecca Solnit by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez of Democracy Now!. Elaborating on her recent Literary Hub article “Let This Flood of Women’s Stories Never Cease” she reminds us that in the case of Abu Ghraib, where initially an attempt was made to characterize the problem as merely being a case of a few “bad apples”, it was eventually acknowledged that the issue was systemic, an issue of a toxic culture which sustained the behavior. Similarly, when discussing the current cases of sexual abuse and harassment coming to light it is dangerous to focus only on the behavior of some number of individual cases. We need to examine the system and the culture that supports that behavior. And for those who might suggest that these behaviors are unalterable genetic traits, there appears to be at least one instance demonstrating that it is indeed possible to create a culture which does not enshrine the alpha-male heirarchical structure.
She also notes that the tenor of the times is reminiscent of earlier events which had energized public action on these issues, events such as Anita Hill’s revelations about Clarence Thomas in 1991, the Steubenville sexual assault and the New Delhi rape in 2012, and the Isla Vista mass murder near UC Santa Barbara in 2014. Let’s hope that recent events bear out that observation.
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