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#MeToo and the Age of Encouragement

*tw assault, harassment 

This morning @timesupnow shared a text-based image that began, “We hope women are encouraged by today’s verdict.”

I immediately thought of the Beck Taxi driver who groped my chest last August before I got out of the car. How I called the police and learned I had to press charges for the driver to be reprimanded in any form.

I thought of Dan, the substance-addicted adult who spent 20 years abusing and assaulting my family and I. How he would run when we’d call the police. How the police would say they couldn’t help us if Dan was not present.

I thought about waking up early while on overnights to move my production vehicle before 4pm. How a man walking down the sidewalk called me a “disrespectful cunt, a real fucking cunt” for “waiting until the last minute” to move my vehicle. How I drove around the block and waited for him. How I wanted to punch him in the face but took his picture instead.

It took me three egregious memories before I thought about work. How I work in the same industry as Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein. How many, many long days and nights of my career have been enormously rewarding, fun, and worthwhile. How I’ve met incredible humans who I love dearly. But how one, two, three, four sharp, short interactions stick out like needles in the line graph of my work life. How I am open and more likely to speak (and even think) more of my away-from-work experiences over the ones that happen in the systemic, hierarchal, male-dominated industry that pays me money so that I can eat and pay my rent.

I thought about whether I am encouraged by today’s verdict. How I wasn’t sure, but also how this post is a reflection of the encouragement I seek. How I feel gratitude for Andrea Constand and the survivors involved in the trial and retrial. How this retrial represents a change, an opportunity, a shift toward a recognizable acceptance of the survivor experience.

The post that triggered these thoughts references Bill Cosby’s retrial; how he was found guilty on three accounts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand in the first high-profile conviction after the birth of the #MeToo movement.

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