I was amazed in October when, so many actresses came forward with stories of sexual abuse and harassment against Harvey Weinstein. It was the opening of the floodgates and by years end many powerful, wealthy men were washed overboard with Weinstein.
I was also amazed at the big names that came forward to tell of Weinstein’s “casting couch”, the careers he derailed if his advances were rebuffed.
But why was I so shocked? As a female I have long known every bit of this to be true. And I have also known the need for silence.
As a young nurse, over 20 years ago, there was one particular doctor in our hospital, it was well known that you did not get in the elevator alone with him. Not unless you enjoyed being shoved against the wall and having bruises on your butt and your boobs when you left the car. One new girl who didn’t listen tearfully reported at the med cart that she got his tongue shoved down her throat and thought she might suffocate on her own puke.
She followed our “nurses protocol” to avoid any situation that required being alone in an unseen space with this man after that.
But here was a situation where an entire hospital full of nurses KNEW, we had at best a man who enjoyed being inappropriate, and at worst a predator roaming the halls, but no one said a word… No one came forward to report the bruises, the forced tongue, the fear of the elevator.
As a nurse in those days we were routinely cursed by male doctors. You could hear the “oh no’s… not him” or the “thank God’s” loud and clear when we found out who was on call after hours. On one particularly trying night, I called the cardiologist at 0300 to let him know that his patient continued to worsen, and I got cursed out so badly, (and told NOT to bother him again) I lost my temper and reported his behavior to the nursing supervisor and demanded the chief of staff be notified. Basically, the supervisor told me to “let it go”. He was “upset” because I had to call many times during the night and no one would do anything anyway.
“You do not want to make an enemy of this MAN.”
Wow, had I known that sexual predation and verbal abuse were in the job description I would have gone to law school- not nursing school. I can assure you I was not getting paid enough for this crap. There is not enough money in the world to make this abuse “worth it”.
But nobody said anything…ever. You did not complain about the doctors, after all, you were “just a nurse.”
Yes, just the nurse, who has been at your beside constantly, titrating your IV meds to keep your blood pressure perfusing. Just the nurse, who is watching every beat of your heart on a monitor to make sure it keeps beating for you and your family and when clinical evidence shows that your heart might not continue to do so, calls the doctor, and gets cursed out for doing her job to save your life.
We kept our mouths shut and shouldered on. Because that is what women did.
I was amazed to see actors who had disappeared, “Whatever happened to so and so?” Now back and telling their truth: they refused the casting couch and Harvey and others made sure they never worked again. Blackballed.
I think of two courageous nurses who did speak out against dangerous hospital staffing (rather, lack of staffing) and abuse by male doctors. They got put on night shift, weekends, moved to units they did not want to work. They got squeezed out for being “trouble-makers”.
So why am I surprised?
This has been going on for decades and decades.
And treated as a joke.
At the 2013 Oscar Awards the host said to the best supporting actress nominee’s, “Congratulations! You five ladies no longer have to pretend to be attracted to Harvey Weinstein!”
HAHA. LOL. Very funny… Right along with “all nurses are skanks after a rich doctor.”
I think I am surprised because these women are being BELIEVED. They are being heard loud and clear.
And that gives me hope for change.
Hope for a world where respect is the norm, not the exception.
Where treating other people like garbage is not going to be tolerated.
Where certain wrongs will be righted.
One wrong I desperately want to see righted is the trickle-down effect of abusive behavior. I am talking about financial abuse.
Actresses who refused to lay on the casting couch paid for it with careers and income. Nurses who dared speak out paid for it with their jobs, paychecks and job references.
And wives who no longer wish to stay with abusive men are paying for it in the Family courts by being forced out of their children’s lives and forced into poverty.
If a woman is lucky enough to survive telling the truth in family court, then her financial future is ruined.
Child support arrears in America are now over $116 BILLION dollars, with approximately $30 Billion of that owed back to the federal budget for children on TANF, EBT and Medicaid. Most of these children would not have qualified for such benefits IF the child support was being paid.
But the obligor parents are given a “pass” by the state enforcement agencies. The stereotype is the “poor man” who misses one outrageous child support payment and goes directly to jail and rots there till he has lost his job, lost everything of value… all for some “couch queen” who was angry her manicure money did not arrive on time.
This old stereotype needs to vanish right along side Mr. Weinstein. The truth is 15% of child support debtors owe over $40K in arrears but they account for 55% of that total $116 billion.
This 15% are the Harvey’s, there is no longer a way for them to physically, sexually or verbally abuse you, so the one option left is to drive you into the ground by withholding child support. Harvey knows you will work 2-3 jobs to keep the kids fed. Your parents will help, you will get freebies from the government.
All Harvey will get is “demand letters” in the mail, that he has 30 days each to respond to. After the “final demand” letter is sent it will be months or even years before an overworked caseworker gets your file to the legal department for contempt charges. Then all Harvey must do is make sure he dodges the process server. It’s EASY! And in the meantime, Harvey has the satisfaction of knowing his ex is suffering, overworked, tired and not eating well. She is certainly NOT getting mani and pedi’s and looking good for another man to start sniffing around! Way to GO Harvey! You the MAN!
Harvey, you forgot something.
There are children involved who are doing without. Basic needs, some wants, dental and even medical care, plus extra things like sports and extracurricular activities that are good for kids and develop strong adults.
What about the kids?
Who is going to stand up for them?
Hollywood actresses stood up against Mr. Weinstein.
Other whistle blowers have come forward, including a production assistant, lesser known actors and farm workers have all said, “Times Up”
Enough is enough…
But while we are standing up for ourselves, lets stand up for the kids caught in the middle as collateral damage.
Let’s enforce the 1998 Deadbeat Parents Act and #EndFinancialAbuse of women and children.
No more Mr. Nice Guy, Harvey.