It is a rare woman who has never been harassed in her professional life. One in six of those women has also been sexually assaulted. Every 98 seconds, an American is raped; 9 in 10 are women. With 99 out of every 100 men accused walking free, it’s no wonder that only three in ten rapes are reported to police. With statistics like these, it seems counterintuitive that women are often all too eager to join in slut-shaming and victim blaming. Why did the actress agree to a meeting in Weinstein’s room? Another woman sleeping her way to the top. If it really happened, why didn’t she report it or why did it take her so long? These are just variations on what was she wearing, why did she go there alone, or how much did she have to drink?
The inverse of these questions paint a false picture of how women can ensure their own safety. If those actions and behaviors create unsafe situations, then avoiding them means that I will be safe. It means that we can teach our daughters and sisters how to be safe. This phenomenon becomes all the more intense if a woman knows the man accused. The need to believe we understand and can trust the men close to us is intense. Every woman wants to believe that she can spot a predator by his appearance, actions, or words. The truth is, they look just like everyone else and that is terrifying when we allow ourselves consider it.