Belle Bannon Series: Historical Vignettes: #metoo Movement

Real history plays a key parts in the Belle Bannon mystery-thriller series, and from time to time the blog will offer a vignette of one such character who will either directly or sometimes posthumously provide key clues to Belle as she attempts to solve a mystery and save the day.



The Metoo# Movement


    The Sundance Revenge (Belle Bannon book 1)


As I write these words, Harvey Weinstein sits in a New York courtroom for a second week as a jury considers rape charges against him. These charges are only a few of the torrent of claims against Weinstein alleging sexual abuse of some sort over his reign as one of the most influential moguls in the film business. When these claims burst into public back in 2017, they unleashed a flood of similar allegations of sexual abuse first in the entertainment world, then in all workplaces, then in all walks of life. Once hatched, the movement spread as women who were victimized found strength in numbers.

On October 15, 2017, actress Alyssa Milano posted the following message on Twitter: “If all the women who have ever been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too.’ as a status, then we give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” High profile actresses and celebrities quickly followed, and the #metoo hashtag spread like the proverbial wildfire.

Because of the alleged perpetrators’ notoriety, media coverage mushroomed, leading to high profile firings and resignations by men in power. Inevitably, criticism and backlash occurred as some (mostly but not all) men complained the movement painted with too broad a brush. Others expressed frustration that the conduct in question happened years earlier when social mores were different. Still others complained that what a woman might find to be objectionable was merely flirting, something men have been doing forever. Still, there has been no going back, and virtually every business and institution is now hyper-sensitive to conduct that could conceivably be considered inappropriate.

Interestingly, the #metoo phrase was not originated by Ms. Milano, and had been in play for over ten years. Instead, the movement reaches back to 2006 where it was founded by civil rights activist Tarana Burke from the Bronx. Growing up in a low income housing project, she’d been sexually assaulted both as a teen and a child. As an adult she founded the movement to raise awareness of the extent of unreported sexual harassment and abuse at all levels of our society. When the #metoo phrase was used by Ms. Milano in 2017, Ms. Burke embraced the message and joined with other advocates fighting against male predators.

In 2017, Ms. Burke was identified as one of the “Silence Breakers” by Time magazine as its Persons of the Year. In accepting that honor, she said, “Sexual harassment does bring shame. And I think it’s really powerful that this transfer is happening, that these women are able not just to share their shame but to put the shame where it belongs: on the perpetrator.”

In the Sundance Revenge Belle Bannon, herself an object of inappropriate sexual advances, discovers that sometimes #metoo victims fight back.

And are not above vigilante justice!

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