SHOULD I apologise for the despicable saga playing out across Hollywood?

I didn't keep the secrets of Harvey Weinstein or Keven Spacey and I have zero insider knowledge on the allegations against Dustin Hoffman or Jeremy Piven.

As an average guy in regional Australia, I am as removed as I can be from Hollywood's sleazy underbelly. Does mean that I'm not part of the problem?

I have never kept the (allegedly) sordid secrets of Kevin Spacey.
I have never kept the (allegedly) sordid secrets of Kevin Spacey.

For weeks we have watched a #metoo hashtag spread from furious voices on Twitter to a global shout by women to say they will not feel isolated by the actions of others.

#MeToo started as a whisper between men and women who have lived in the shadow of powerful and publicly-beloved abusers. When the Tower of Weinstein crumbled, the whispering stopped and the shouting took its place.

All those years, all that silence, and now we're hearing that "everybody knew".

Everybody knew about the men who, like the women, were treated as chattel in the hands of the rich, the powerful and the horny.

These people show guts by raising their hands to say "me too". Horrid tales continue to trickle from victims but by speaking out they still risk being ostracised and cast in the wilderness.

 

Filmmaking legend Quentin Tarantino has admitted he
Filmmaking legend Quentin Tarantino has admitted he "knew enough to do more" about the Weinstein allegations.

But that is not enough for some of us. Those of us who think these women and men are making claims for attention or to somehow feather their nests.

The more we learn about these despicable acts, the more we're hearing from angry men who want to interrupt victims with claims of innocence. Like me, they weren't there. They were never confronted in their trailer with some oversized goon's sleazy demands.

So what do they have to feel sorry about? Well. I'd be shocked if any man truly did not have a prick of recognition that they had done, or endorsed, some form of garbage behaviour among their friends or colleagues.

Who can claim they have never stood beside a mate who made crude, disgusting or even violent slurs against a woman - either to their face or behind their backs? I can't.

Hey baby, how about a smile?
Hey baby, how about a smile?

How about hanging out a car window to cat-call a woman passing by? Have you never done that? Because I have.
I've seen it from the backseat of that car, and I've seen it from the street as a grown man with my daughter.

Most men have watched a young woman's face flash with fear as a drunk tries to hit on them in the taxi line. Maybe you were that drunk, or maybe they were a friend of yours.

None of us can pretend to be innocent.

We're not all Weinsteins. We're not rapists or sexual abusers but that doesn't mean we haven't been party to some disgusting crap aimed at women.

But women - and men - will struggle to overcome abuse, harassment and mistreatment until we accept that it's happening. And the toughest part is that we're all guilty, even if it's by being a less-than-innocent bystander. 

The question isn't whether we should be wringing our hands and apologising. It's asking what we do to stop it.

I don't know the answer but I suspect it starts with being honest with ourselves.

 

Owen Jacques is an award-winning journalist and pens the syndicated Daddy-O column. You can follow him on Twitter and on Facebook.

News Corp Australia

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