As #MeToo Evolves, Women And Men Rethink Everything

By Nina Shapiro
The Seattle Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As columnist Nina Shapiro so aptly points out, “Here’s what we know: Sexual assault and harassment are wrong, and years of dealing with it have produced an anger like we’ve never seen. But sometimes, the lines aren’t so easily drawn. And even when they are, the right punishment isn’t always apparent.”

The Seattle Times

Until recently, Maggi Johnson didn’t talk much about being sexually abused as a child. She knew how people thought about victims — as “damaged.”

Working in a competitive profession, as a landscape architect, she didn’t need that. And the few times she did tell people, they were so shocked that she ended up almost having to comfort them.

Then came the torrent of stories unlocked by the #MeToo movement. All of sudden, she said, “people are surrounded by wonderful, strong, competent women” who have been abused or harassed.

The dismantling of assumptions has come as a relief.

But as the movement has evolved, the 60-year-old Seattleite also has begun to think about its “complexity and gray areas.” She has two sons, and one of them, 20, recently asked: “How do you flirt?”

“I don’t think he should be worried about flirting,” she said. “But I think he really, really needs to understand about pressing unwanted attention on somebody or making them feel unsafe.”

“It’s almost like there needs to be a chart.”

What we’ve got instead is an urgent cultural conversation that is still figuring some things out.

Here’s what we know: Sexual assault and harassment are wrong, and years of dealing with it have produced an anger like we’ve never seen. But sometimes, the lines aren’t so easily drawn. And even when they are, the right punishment isn’t always apparent.

In part, the movement has been head-spinning because of its breadth: What began largely with a workplace focus quickly expanded into a re-examination and renegotiation of all types of interactions.

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