The story of Tina Negus back in the 50’s got me thinking about women and girls whose experiences are still not given credence today. The case of Harvey Weinstein, jailed for sexual offences in 2020, broke in late 2017 and when I began my MA journey was still in the media. Initially women who came forward to speak of their experience at the hands of Weinstein and others were not believed. On 15th October, 2017, American actress Alyssa Milano posted on Twitter,
“If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,”https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_Too_movement#cite_note-twitter.com-11
the hashtag went on to become a phenomenon, with women from all walks of life (including this one) posting ‘#MeToo’ tweets. It became clear just how many women suffer everyday sexism and harassment, and yet only 1.7% of reported rapes were prosecuted in 2018 (The Independent 25 April 2019). The extent of everyday harassment prompted a number of questions from men I have known all my life, and the question ‘why didn’t you say anything?’ For many it was about taking on power, and putting one’s neck on the line to say something. If you weren’t believed then you put yourself in a precarious position at work, at school at uni, for no reason. Silence was safer.
So the story of a girl whose words were given no importance, whose discovery would have changed her future, seemed to fit this time. We have to start more sentences with ‘I believe her’