The blatant overlook within the #MeToo movement
Taking a look at female-driven sexual assault
In the wake of an influx of sexual assault allegations, Hollywood has taken a slackened approach to female-driven sexual assault allegations.
Although these allegations have come up less often, the number of female predators is not addressed nearly as vehemently as male allegations. This reveals one of the biases and pitfalls of modern society.
The tendency to ignore and placate the notion of female-driven sexual assault and predatory behavior is nothing new. The thought of teacher-student affairs or babysitter-child relationships litter the world of pornography. The comment section of news briefs regarding these crimes is always full of adults congratulating the victim on his accomplishment.
Yet if the roles are reversed, the attitude completely flips. This dichotomy carries over toward female-driven assaults on all fronts. Female-on-female assault, and especially female-on-male assault is beyond trivialized.
Celebrities and musicians find themselves at the forefront of societal gaze. The platform they’re on should keep these individuals ethically in line, yet the news has become muddled with scandals and accusations. They are often caught abusing their power and, often times, they receive a limited backlash.
Despite the recent arraignment of Bill Cosby, many of the men and women in authoritative positions rarely receive any kind of punishment.
This response seems to multiply in regards to female abusers. Society seems to turn its back on the victims of female abusers, either ignoring the accusations or bullying them into quiet submission. A basic Google search for female-driven assault just results in lists of male abusers. The lists of male abusers can be retrieved instantaneously, but any instance of female abusers is mysteriously missing.
Statistically, one in three women and one in six men will be a victim of some variation of sexual assault in their lifetime. Although the likelihood of a female perpetrator is significantly less, the impact of an assault carries the same burdensome weight.
A recent instance of female-driven sexual assault that was trivialized occurred in December 2017. Singer and “The Voice” alumni Melanie Martinez was accused of sexual assault. The accusations came from a former friend. Many of her fans were rightfully outraged, yet the singer has announced the release of another album and a theatrical film.
Her career may have taken a timely hit, but that did not stop her career the way it would’ve for a male abuser. The singer is constantly defended online by her legion of fans and the victim has received a flood of harassment.
This reaction comes as a surprise because the singer has not denied the sexual encounter. She has made statements regarding the nature of the incident, claiming the victim never said no. The victim claims the opposite.
Similarly, the lead singer of the indie band He is We has been accused of sexual assault. The band’s touring guitarist claims that Rachel Taylor sexually assaulted her while on tour. Although their fellow bandmates have rallied around the victim and had cancelled their upcoming tour, the discourse among fans has resulted in victim-blaming and conspiracy theories.
The use of power to manipulate victims is found throughout the industry. The facade of the #MeToo movement between these Hollywood elitists is apparent with the blatant “rug-sweeping” that has occurred throughout time. Comedians had been joking about Bill Cosby for years.
Lena Dunham even joked about her sexual assault victim within her memoir. Dunham writes about exchanging candy or small gifts with her sister to “kiss her on the lips for five seconds” and how she had opened up her sister’s genitals. She writes,“Basically, anything a sexual predator might do to woo a small suburban girl, I was trying.”
Actress and #MeToo advocate Asia Argento has been accused of assault as well. This accusation differs from the rest because her victim is male co-star Jimmy Bennett. Argento is accused of assaulting Bennett when he was 17, below the age of consent. The actress has since paid Bennett $380,000 through a plea deal. Despite the plea deal, which often points toward guilt, the actress continues to deny the allegations.
Male sexual assault victims make up only 9 percent of the overall sexual assault statistics, but that doesn’t make them any less victimized. Those in positions of power and authority need to be held accountable for their actions, regardless of gender.
Samantha Vargas is the asst. arts editor and can be reached at email@example.com.