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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Jump On The #MeToo Bandwagon

Why do women come in droves with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movement? Because there is safety in numbers.

I have heard people dismissing these movements, claiming the allegations as nothing but an effort to get fame or money. I silently weep every time I hear it.

Last year I wrote an article in Indonesia about infidelity. It went viral with over 2 million recorded hit just on my blog, the only thing Indonesia's netizens talked for a week with my face pretty much on everywhere, and secured me a book deal on self-help.

The reason was because I inadvertantly started a #MeToo movement. Men having an affair is considered normal there, especially if you have money or power. It is also taboo to speak ill of your husband or to air your woes.

What do women do when it happened to them? They cry in silence. They vent to their closest friend. They have to just accept it, as divorced women are considered second class citizen by many.

When I break that door in Jack Torrance style, I made it known that their, our, situation is far too common. That it is not just celebrity or high rollers who can fight when things like this happen to them. That, most importantly, they are not alone.

The comment in that blog article reach over 1500, and I still get a new one now and then. The reaction is the same: "Oh my God!! That happens to me too!!" A lot of them use anonymous name, but their voice, their feeling is still there. And, maybe for the first time, their experience is validated.

Will any of them speak out publicly had it not been because of the viral article? Maybe not. There is too much at stake. As I said, it is considered ill-mannered to 'air your dirty laundry'. You'll get blamed and scolded instead, and your life will be extra miserable.

I, on the other hand, has nothing to lose. It's the perk of living in a free society 8000 miles away from home. A simple share and like on Facebook, and boom, the floodgate was opened. It's not okay anymore to have an affair. It will not be overlooked that easily.

This is, in a much larger scale, essentially what happened with #MeToo movement in the US. It's not 'jumping on the bandwagon', it's 'finally collectively loud enough to make my voice heard'. It's 'finally collectively big enough to make it matters'.

One allegations, two, it wont save you. Ke$ha, for instance, in 2016 accused Dr. Luke of sexual assault. The common reaction I saw for that case was: "Who is she anyway?" "She knows it's coming," "Why does this even matter?" Not many celeb was willing to take a stand and support her.

Even now, the gesture still stand. Celebs and commoners rallied up against those who already got thrown under the bus, but not those who are still prominent enough to sit on the bus with them. It's both 'cover my ass' and 'pitchfork mob' mentality.

And you wonder why these women (and men) didn't come sooner? As if you would actually hear their voice and make a stand for them? As if you wouldn't just dismissed it with "It's expected from the industry"? Because taking a stand by yourself is useless. You need an army to move the mountain.

Even right now, I still hear people saying: "They could have said no. They could have not put themselves in that position." You know what the perpetrator could also do? Not abusing their power. Not taking advantage of the people who had to work with them. Not choosing to sexually assault people.

This is the real, real core of #MeToo movement: a wake up call that such abuse of power is intolerable, that you cannot just do what you please and think it is okay. That respect and consent is vital. This is the core idea that, as you can see, can easily be implemented in many, if not all, aspect of life.

What we also learned from #MeToo is how society as a whole may choose to silence the dissenting voices to stabilize and preserve the status quo, i.e. to keep things as it is. Unless there is something big enough to wreak havoc and disrupt the society, nothing will change.

It is up to us as individual to stand up for things we truly believe in, and have balls to defend what we think it's right, even if we are the only No in the sea of Yes. You'll never know how many other 'No's that you might find, or how many other people that will say: "Oh my God, me too!!"

It involves looking at things objectively, comparing only datas and facts and steer clear from opinions and hearsays. It involves being empathatic. You may not agree on one's action or you may think it is not what he/she described, but that doesn't mean his/her feeling is not valid. So yes, it will be very hard.

Can we do it? Of course we can. We abolished slavery. We made progress in equality. We are more aware in the plight of our surrounding, both human and nature. Now we are tackling respect and consent. We have progressed so much as a race, and it's not gonna stop anytime soon. Yes. Yes, we can.

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