Charles: How do Eugenians feel about the #MeToo movement?

This weekend was the second annual Women’s March, which launched last year on January 20. And even though the forecast said it would pour, I wasn’t going to let anything rain on my parade.

I went downtown to the Eugene Federal Courthouse before the march started, and asked several participants their opinions on the #MeToo movement, what direction our country is going in and if they participated in activism prior to Trump’s election. I received a myriad of replies.

Q: What do you think of the #MeToo movement?

“I think it’s great, but long overdue,” said Cookie, one of the event organizers.

“I think it’s great. I’m happy to finally see people taking victims seriously. As someone who has been the victim of sexual assault, it’s nice to see that women are being heard, although shyly.”said Ashley. She is 45, divorced, and has three children, two of whom are preparing for university this fall.

Q: Did you participate in activism before this?

“I didn’t participate in activism prior to this. A part of me thinks I’m a little responsible for the rise of Trump, ya know? I just didn’t give a shit. I thought this stuff, neonazism, racism…was in the past. My grandfather fought the Nazis…” said David. He is 33 and he graduated from the University of Oregon in 2008 with a degree in multimedia.

“I can’t believe I have to do this again. I was in university when I first marched during the Civil Rights movement,” said Ann, a 73 year old grandmother of two.

Q: Do you think people are reluctant to acknowledge that their favorite media personalities may be responsible for such reprehensible actions?

“Oh yeah, absolutely. No doubt. I loved Bill Cosby growing up. I was devastated,” said Ashley.

“Well, it’s always kind of assumed that politicians and actors and athletes will abuse their power. We idolize them and they think they can get away with anything. I’m worried there may be no actors left,” said David.

Q: What do you think of the people calling the women’s march a “witch hunt”?

“Some people are more concerned with protecting men’s careers than helping innocent victims. They’re complicit themselves…” said Cookie.

Overall, people who I interviewed were shocked that we still have to actively engage in the fight for minority rights. We must defend whatever progress has already been accomplished while continuing to fight for more. An individual who I interviewed participated in the Civil Rights movement during the 1960s. They know what it is like, and they all admitted a feeling of trepidation over our current culture.

The #MeToo movement is a great initiative to start talking about matters of consent, rape culture, patriarchy and power-abuses in society. It is healthy in the long run to evaluate these issues even though they are deeply polarizing. It is more than just our attitudes toward sexual assault; we must also question our appetite for powerful figures in politics and the media, which is a direct consequence of capitalism. It’s not perfect, but we’re getting there.

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Melody Charles

Melody Charles