Has #MeToo Gone Too Far?
The #MeToo movement has focused on the responsibility of men in the workplace – but what about the responsibility of women?
By Katie Packer Beeson, Contributing Editor for Opinion | Feb. 12, 2018, at 7:00 a.m.
In 2017 a phenomenon swept the nation called #MeToo. Women began rising up all over the country to tell their stories about sexual harassment in the workplace, men exposing themselves to female subordinates and in some cases even sexual assault. Nearly every woman I know, myself included, had at least one story about grossly inappropriate behavior that made them feel vulnerable, compromised or victimized in their professional life, and finally we said, “enough is enough.” We started telling our stories, the media started paying attention and many men have been held accountable for these bad acts and paid heavy prices, and rightfully so. The worst and most well-known offenders have included Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose. Some have been people I know personally due to my work in politics. Certainly, there are many more who have yet to be exposed (pardon the pun).
But lately I have begun to wonder if this cultural shift has created a “ready, fire, aim” mentality where we immediately believe every woman who comes forward with a claim and refuse to give the men any chance to tell their side of the story.
Very recently, a friend of mine was fired from his job because a former subordinate alleged that they had engaged in a sexual relationship and that he refused to give her a raise, or an opportunity for promotion, because of it. He was fired, no questions asked. (Because, in this environment, if you ask for his side of the story, you might be accused of victim shaming or of being too tolerant of bad behavior.) Given my strong position on the issue of sexual harassment, I had some pretty tough questions for him. But when I heard his story, I saw a relationship that had been initiated by her well over one year ago, kept secret because she was already dating someone else (a superior in her same office, no less), and I saw no evidence that he had tried to hold her back. In fact, I saw evidence where he was trying to help her with career opportunities as late as just a few weeks ago.