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Suing The Founder Of The #MeToo Movement Is Dangerous For Women

October 8, 2019

Because apparently an apology makes sexual harassment ok. 

Founder of the French #MeToo movement, Sandra Muller has been sued for defaming Eric Brion, the man who sexually harassed her. 

According to Muller, her harasser told made the following comment at a party:

“You have big breasts. You are my type of woman. I will make you orgasm all night.” 

In the wake of the exposition of Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo movement that swept America, Muller took to Twitter to call him out. 

Ending her tweet with the hashtag #balancetonporc (which translates to ‘expose your pig’), Muller initiated the French wave of the #MeToo movement that held perpetrators of sexual harassment responsible for their actions. 

So why is she being sued for defamation if it actually happened? 

Brion admitted in a public apology that he had, in fact, made the ‘inappropriate remarks’ but justified his actions in saying it happened ‘very late at night, during a drink-fuelled cocktail party evening, but I only did it once”. He also sent an apology text because that automatically mitigates the consequences of being sexually harassed, right? It wasn’t even that bad, right?

Wrong. 

If you read that statement and were inclined to thing she overreacted, shame on you. Your ability to judge that situation lightly comes from a place of privilege and complacency. Yes, there are innumerable instances of worse situations of sexual abuse but allowing these statements to pass perpetuates the rape culture that somehow both villainizes and dehumanizes women. 

 

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The legal system ruled in favor of the male perpetrator rather than the female victim. Again. 

Muller’s downfall was using the word ‘pig’ in her initial tweet. Bearing in mind that the only defense to defamation is truth, I’m not quite sure how this stood up in court. 

Any man who gets drunk at a party and makes unwanted sexual advances towards a woman is by definition, ‘a pig’. 

Brion played the victim, as so many highly acclaimed and accused harassers do and again we villainized the woman who stood up for herself and called him out on his disgusting behavior. 

How dare she?

The real question is how dare he. 

This is not the fault of Muller. Sexual harassment is never the fault of the victim despite our society’s determination to protect the reputations of men rather than the safety of women. 

When the court ruled in favor of the sexual harasser, they sent a dangerous message to women. 

They told us to stay silent. They told us that our bodily autonomy is worth less than the reputation of a successful man. They told us that our bodies were objects that don’t belong to us.  

Convicting perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment is inconvenient for the legal system. Men are typically the perpetrators and yet Western law isn’t designed to actually punish sexual crimes that are committed by males.

 So, where does that leave the victims? 

Voiceless. 

The loopholes and burdens of proof, combined with our culture of victim-blaming make it nearly impossible to get a court hearing, let alone get justice in a system that is stacked against victims of sexual crimes. 

One in every five women will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. 85% of women in Australia have been sexually harassed and these figures are replicated globally. 

Yet for every 1000 sexual assaults, 995 perpetrators will walk away with no conviction or punishment. 

If you think these numbers add up, you can’t do math. 

The #MeToo movement gave women courage and made men cower.

All of a sudden men were scared of the consequences of their actions. There was this supposed ‘threat’ that at any minute a woman would accuse him of sexual assault and his career would be purported ruined. 

Here’s a hot tip: if you don’t want to get accused of sexually harassing a woman, don’t sexually harass her. 

Women were accused of coming forward with false stories for notoriety and power in an attempt to gaslight survivors of sexual violence into silence. The notion that a woman would put herself on the flaming spit that is trial by social media and expose herself to death threats, rape threats and violence for ‘fame’ is ridiculous. 

Name five out of the 60 women who came forward against Bill Cosby. 

Name three of the 80 women, most of whom were of ‘underage girls’ (who are in fact children) that came forward after they were sexually trafficked as minors by Jeffrey Epstein. 

Chances are you can’t, so let’s put that argument to bed, shall we?

For those of you who just lit up your fires and whipped out pitchforks let me just reiterate (although I’m sure you’ll come for me anyway). 

Men are the main perpetrators of sexual harassment. Men are the main perpetrators of sexual assault. Ninety-three percent of offenders are male. This is a fact

Women are capable of sexual crimes and men can be victims but statistically speaking men are the most frequent violators and women are the most frequent victims. 

Social media movements like #MeToo and #balancetonporc gave women their voices back and it gave us a space to share our stories. 

It made the perpetrators of rape culture uncomfortable, and it damn well should have. 

This defamation case won’t stop women coming forward. 

You can’t silence us any longer. The top of the patriarchal hierarchy is beginning to crumble as men are slowly being held accountable for their actions. 

We won’t stop until women can leave the house at night and not get sexually assaulted. We won’t stop until girls can go through school without learning ‘how to avoid being raped’. 

We won’t stop until men stop sexually harassing us. 

So guys, it’s up to you. 

When will enough be enough?

Featured image via unsplash.com

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Join the discussion: What does this case do to the #MeToo movement? 

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