By Léo Azambuja
Mark Twain once said, “Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.”
To begin with, the moon has no dark side, Mr. Twain. The moon orbits around the Earth in a locked position. So one side of the moon always faces us. The other side, called the far side, does get lit by the sun in all its glory. We just couldn’t see it because of the moon’s locked position. That is, until a Russian satellite orbited the moon and took pictures of the far side. Aside from an alien base here and there (just kidding), there were no surprises.
Now, to say everyone has a dark side is an overstatement. They may have a far side, but it doesn’t mean it’s dark. What we are seeing lately — and now I’m giving some credit to Mr. Twain — is that a lot more people than we thought have a dark, shady side they wish would never be shown to anyone. And a little more credit to Mr. Twain; notice he said “he.”
I’m obviously talking about the tsunami of sexual harassment allegations that have swept through the upper levels of management, politics and media in the United States last year, taking with it hordes of men who have behaved badly. Those men have shown their dark side to women, and hoped it would never be exposed. But those women are now coming out of the shadows, no pun intended, and shining some light on this dark subject.
I commend those women for speaking out. Their stories will help men to think twice before trying to ruin women’s lives, for the sake of power and sexual pleasure. Their stories are also encouraging more and more women to tell their own stories. Many have hid their experiences for so long because of shame, fear of retribution, lack of empowerment, or other reasons.
This uprising of women against sexual harassment was the biggest story of 2017.
In Congress, sexual harassment allegations have hurt both Republicans and Democrats. It robbed the spotlight of a reality-TV-style president who is obsessed with Twitter and with reversing every achievement of the Obama administration. Even the president himself has been accused, though he denies the allegations against him.
In entertainment, even those we thought were nice people have been exposed. Most lost their jobs, either by being fired or resigning.
The only reason I would wish this wave of sexual harassment allegations would slow down in 2018 would be because there are less and less cases happening or waiting to be uncovered. But I’m afraid we are only tapping the tip of the iceberg.
One of the extraordinary things in all of this, is that it is a movement started and carried on almost entirely, if not entirely, by women.
For the sake of the human race, I hope we, men, realize we have the power to turn #metoo around and make this a better, equal place for everyone.
But if we don’t, the message those women sent is clear: there are no safe places anymore for sexual harassers.