The Cure for Weinstein is a Cultural Change

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by Thomas L. Knapp

How many women did Harvey Weinstein victimize?  When did he  start down the continuum leading from Hollywood’s shamefully tolerated “casting couch”  overtures to  increasingly flagrant sexual harassment, and finally (if we believe his accusers, as I think we should) open sexual assault? We’ll probably never know.

But one thing we do know: There was a first time, a Victim Zero. While neither that victim nor the others should be blamed for what happened to them, it’s worth asking why there followed a Victim One, and a Victim Two, and so forth, spanning decades, before Weinstein was finally brought low for his depredations. And why so many others remain in the shadows, sexually victimizing women and men, adults and children, with impunity.

We need a culture change. The current culture of planting seeds of fear — the “stranger danger” mentality and such — before victimization and offering sympathy after clearly isn’t getting the job done. Instead of #MeToo after the fact pageantry, this problem calls for the inculcation of a strong, affirmative #NotMe attitude — an unwillingness to be Victim Zero, or to remain silent as other victims inevitably follow.

What must be rooted out is the sickness in our culture that lets sexual predators leverage fear into opportunity to commit their crimes and shame into an ability hide those crimes.

It has to start with parents and  extend to friends, mentors and  communities. Our children need to be brought up to understand that there’s nothing they can’t bring to the rest of us, and that we will back them completely should they encounter someone who attempts to victimize them.

We have to shift the fear away from would-be victims and strike it into the hearts of would-be victimizers. We have to make it preemptively clear that we will always ostracize those who harass and punish those who assault, not those who are harassed or assaulted.

We must send our young people out into the world understanding that when they walk away from — or, if necessary, run away from or defend themselves against — a Harvey Weinstein, it will be Weinstein, not them, who pays the price. And while systems of criminal  justice must and should presume innocence and work diligently to establish the truth, victims must know, to their very core, that they enjoy a starting presumption of belief from the rest of us.

The goal is simple, but this is a war. As Carl von Clausewitz pointed out, “everything in war is simple, but the simplest thing is difficult.” It’s not going to be easy. But I believe we can prevail, for ourselves and for our loved ones. Let’s make a better world, a world in which our Harvey Weinsteins become outcasts, not billionaires.


Thomas Knapp -- Photo Credit Avens O'Brien

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.  He is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org).

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One Response to The Cure for Weinstein is a Cultural Change

  1. Barry Gabrielson October 21, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    There is a big issue that I have addressed for 30 years that continues today, falling on death ears. Retaliation has been around for along time, continues today, if anyone says no to their boss, for any reason. If you say no, your written up for insubordination, and the first one out the door. Government and Big Business hires Lawyers and HR to cover-up retaliation, to support the business, business as usual. So if your boss tells you to commit fraud, you commit fraud. Have sex to advance a career, you have sex, do as you are ordered, or your out. CEO’s, Lawyers and HR will protect this boss at all cost, to protect this business, at all cost, to stamp out lawsuits, loss of profits, loss of business. So your boss has supreme power over you, can make or break you, for any reason. If you do what your told, including fraud, abuse, immoral behavior, you will be rewarded with a good performance appraisal, promotions, good raises and a carrier. If you don’t, your on the unemployment line, never to work again. So what would you do if your boss ordered you to commit fraud, or you see fraud in your business. Yes, you do as you are told and look the other way, to live another day. Why don’t things change? Because power corrupts, and its protected (CEO, HR, Corporate Lawyers, Political Party), your just collateral damage. Your only choice is to leave the company, try to find another job. This mafia rules, no one stop retaliation so yes, they retaliate with immunity. Again, no one cares to stop corruption, Government and Big Business don’t care, its status quo.

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