Editor’s Letter, November 2017

Unless you have been living under a rock without an internet connection, you will no doubt be aware of the tidal wave of #MeToo status updates prompted by the Harvey Weinstein revelations. What was a sordid Hollywood story of power and abuse has opened the door and cast a light on a dynamic that exists in all walks of life, in all industries and in places far beyond the shadow of the Hollywood Hills. You probably have friends who have updated their status and maybe this is the first you’ve heard of what they have been through.

Most men generally don’t get involved in sexual violence and harassment but I worry that as we near the end of 2017, this is actually still a thing and a much bigger thing than many of us would have realised. I also worry that there is somehow still some complicity for the rest of us. Ironically enough, Australian comedian Jim Jefferies makes a great point about the situation. “Now I’ve been known to make the occasional inappropriate or sexist joke. My act is what you call an acquired taste. But I’ve always believed that my audience understood that those are jokes and don’t represent my actual beliefs. Then came the day when a large part of America was willing to write off ‘pussy grabbing’ as locker room talk and I started to rethink that. And if this latest news has made me realise anything, it is that we, as men, have been incredibly ignorant about what’s happening right underneath our noses.”

It’s this ignorance that’s the problem but as we go through our Facebook feeds, there is becoming less and less of an excuse for it. As Jefferies says, “We need to create a culture where women feel safe coming forward about their experiences and when they do, we need to hear them.”