The last year has been full of many changes.
From the election, to heightening tensions with North Korea, there was a huge shift in how we view our society now relative to how it was prior to November last year.
Amid all the political drama, there was a different type of shift that started in Hollywood. Countless men have been accused of either sexual harassment and assault or both, creating a domino effect of other survivors sharing their stories. Many people have been supportive of the decision the survivor makes, while others have asked the question, “why now?”
Starting in the 1920s, women began taking on different roles in society, making it harder for them to be repressed. This then transitioned into a movement, creating a semi-decent equality structure within our culture.
Until the 2000s, sexual assault and harassment charges were not taken seriously, but still had a stigma attached. During that era, people who had been assaulted rarely spoke out because of fear, embarrassment or whatever other personal reasons they rightfully had.
The controversies surrounding President Donald Trump’s history of being accused of sexual assault and harassment escalated this issue to a new level during the election last year. At the time, political ideologies were being espoused at an all-time high, bringing out the worst in us all. But it also spawned a call for equality, for action and standing up for beliefs.
The present is full of fighters, survivors, allies and storytellers. It is now accepted that people have feelings and want to be free from isolation and elitists. Brave individuals come out every day against their attackers, thus creating less of a stigma around the topic. This helps other victims in the process of healing.
Now to address the question of “why now?” To be frank, survivors have the right to feel, do and act how they want within reason. Because of prior circumstances, these people were unable to tell their story and hold the people who hurt them accountable. None of these victims asked to be put into their situation. It was their attackers who decided to commit a selfish crime. The only questions we should be asking right now are, why now are these perpetrators not being held accountable? and why are we still victim shaming?
Our society is finally starting to hold people accountable for their actions, which is a good thing. We are starting to steer away from the stigma against victims of sexual assault and harassment.
The strong people who decided to tell their stories are able to choose their path and make their own choices. It is not necessary for them to have a reason nor an explanation for how they go about their healing process.