Editorial: Listening to the #metoo movement

By now you’ve probably heard all about the #metoo movement, sparked by the outing of American film producer Harvey Weinstein’s sexual harassment of women, over decades in the industry. Since then, numerous allegations have been made against others, some who had claimed to be supporters of the movement. Some whose work I have really loved in the past.

It’s fairly obvious that the entertainment industry has a problem with misogyny; it’s in so many of the shows and movies we watch, but many of us have  learned to just accept that’s the way it is. We’ve all seen the jokes and comments about female actresses not getting anywhere in their career unless they perform sexual acts with the men above them.

As workplaces have progressed in the way women are treated (though there is still a way to go in many) it seems Hollywood has managed to retain its  misogyny all in the name of entertainment. In some ways, I think some of these men have been given so much freedom and power that they were bound to abuse it. Obviously, that doesn’t make it right.

While we may think the lives of celebrities are not that relevant to our own, in many ways they are. Most of us watch TV. We watch movies. Our children  soak themselves in music, film and YouTube. We are being fed a culture which we know has a seedy undertone.

And there are so many among us who have experienced abuse and harassment.

As a church, we talk a lot about the need to listen and I think we can use that to respond to this movement. Not all survivors are ready to publicly share  their horror stories, and that’s okay too. As a church – and as people – we can listen, be present and offer hope.

Our profile and feature articles this edition, while not on the topic of sexual abuse, both share the importance of the church being in conversations involving deep listening. Read more about Rev Lindsay Cullen, the keynote speaker at this year’s Summer Spirit, here, and about the new Deep Listening Festival happening this April in Margaret River, here.

There have been so many important movements in the rights of women in the past, and I feel like we’re in the midst of another one. If some good can come out of such an awful situation, it’s that some of these women are coming forward; they are strong, they have a voice, they support each other and they’re not alone. Celebrity or not.

If this conversation raises concerns for you, call 1800RESPECT (1800 737 732) or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Heather Dowling

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