The news of Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual assault has spread like wildfire in our society in recent days. It is heartrending and horrific to hear not just the myriad number of stories that so many women are bravely bringing up but also to see clip after clip of Hollywood elite dropping references to Weinstein’s lechery in years past. It’s also not all that surprising. To explain a bit of what I have been thinking and feeling I want to discuss a story closer to home that broke before Weinstein’s did.
Last month in a town near where I teach, a teacher was killed. Murdered actually. Her husband is alleged to have committed the deed. This woman was a beloved elementary school teacher. She was the proud new mother of a one year old. She had been married less time than I have been. They had recently bought a house. And now she’s gone.
Preliminary findings indicate that she suffered, “blunt force injury to the head, sharp force injuries to the neck, and asphyxiation.” This was a crime of domestic abuse. Her husband, rather than loving and caring for her, likely was her executioner. Masculinity run amok.
I cannot really speak as to why this crime has resonated with me so deeply. It might be because I’m a teacher only a few towns away. It might be because I am more aware of how women are treated daily having been married a few years. Whatever it is the horror of domestic abuse came home to me with this story.
After the obligatory 3-4 stories about her life and funerals the stories about her death seemed to have stopped. Then Harvey Weinstein broke and the full scale of all this came rushing at me again.
Far too many men think it is their god-given right to control, dominate, lead, and yes, even abuse women. If not explicitly so than implicitly, too many men demand women capitulate to their every desire. If a women is too independent or free-thinking at best she is worthy of being ignored. At worst, she winds up dead.
My wife teaches me something everyday about the reality of being a women in our society. The #MeToo campaign has taught me much as well. I feel in this moment I can’t do much beyond my marriage except to say women deserve our support. They deserve to be believed. And men who seek to dominate and destroy deserved to be stopped. We have lost too many mothers, sisters, daughters, and teachers to not make an effort.