When A Fuss Isn’t Worth It

With the many sexual harrassment allegations flying around and attempts at victim blaming equally as common, as women we need to recognize within ourselves when we are the problem.

This past weekend was a fun time of football, fathers and friends. OU’s Dad’s Day weekend with the TCU football game meant of small talk with family friends and a lot of drinking for me. At one point, I met a lovely friend of a friend of my parents. Years of talking to distant family relatives have trained me for moments like this.

This woman was a professional woman in the area, working athletic wear. Let’s call her Carla.

Eventually, my family and party started wandering around the various tailgates and I engaged small talk with Karla, who knew only one other person in our group. I asked what she did at work, and she told me about her time in athletics wear.

I then replied that I was working in sports media, and in fact, working on a new TV show within my college about being a women in sports, on field and off.

I mentioned how we want to touch on the struggles women face in this particular workforce and Carla mentioned the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein.

“You know,” she said blithely, “I know there’s no excuse for that, but they had to have known. Like, seriously? He says to come to his hotel room?”

Had to have known. “Of course we know,” I thought. “Since when is that an excuse?”

Normally I would have said just that. Normally I would have responded with an aggressive “SO IT’S HER FAULT THEN BECAUSE SHE SHOULD HAVE KNOWN?”  Many can attest that I would have shouted it out.

But not today. Instead I laughed, and moved on to something else. Why? I didn’t want to make a fuss. I didn’t want to cause a rift and lose this networking opportunity. I didn’t want to embarrass myself in front of my family, and frankly, I was tired and didn’t want to get into a debate about how that mindset is the reason women don’t report.

The ‘Let It Slide’ Mindset

Many women stay silent and even seem accepting of the victim blaming jokes in an effort to stay out of the “crazy femiNazi” accusations. They don’t want the ire of their peers pressuring them to keep their opinion’s to themselves, to hear the words ‘let it slide’ again.

While comments like Carla’s seem harmless, they are often repeated in the important areas, such as in police stations as a victim reports and among family members of the victim. Keeping a ‘let it slide’ mindset in one moment can only extrapolates into the moments where it should not slide, which has lead to the abysmal reporting rates and even worse conviction rates.

I let Carla’s comments slide despite knowing all this. What would you have done in my place?