waynepygram.com: My #MeToo Story - P.S. I'm not exactly always the victim here (Part 1 of a 2 part post)

waynepygram.com: My #MeToo Story - P.S. I'm not exactly always the victim here (Part 1 of a 2 part post)

Ray here. I'm going to forgo the usual color scheme due to the severity of the topic, so I'm just putting this up here so people understand this isn't Mike. 

But anyway, there's been a whole ton of events that have got me thinking about things the past, well, month or so now I guess, if not all the way back deep into September it feels like. The Harvey Weinstein "outing" I guess (big massive quotes around that one because 1.) I don't want to associate it with outing someone who's LGBTQ+, although I'll just go ahead and throw in a brief word about how scummy it is to forcibly and non-consequentially out someone like that too, and 2.) it was a pretty damn big open secret that Weinstien was a serial sexual assaulter and what this is really about is that a group of incredibly brave women decided it was finally time to do something - and I really have to wonder if maybe even they themselves are surprised about just how much they've accomplished, and I really hope this is remembered as how a small group of people or even individuals can affect great change when it's needed) and the associated #MeToo campaign. And as I watched the whole #MeToo campaign gain momentum, there was hardly a day when an actor I followed on Twitter didn't update their feed with that hashtag. Debby Ryan has of course spoken much about her incident of abuse when on the road touring in 2015. But abuse effects us all no matter who we are - like when Mean Girls actor Daniel Franzese talked about how Bully co-actor Bijou Phillips assaulted him, and Phillips' consequent apology. If you click the link you'll read about how Phillips talks about how it was a "different time" (this was back in 2001) and how her mentality as a teenager was vastly different from what it was today and how she's shocked that "she wasn't the ally she remembers being." And this might seem to be a pretty big cop-out but...she actually has a point there that'd I'd like to talk about, and what kind of lessons we can learn to really educate people on who assault prevention is so important. But before we get to that point I feel it's very disingenuous to get there without talking about my own #MeToo story - and like I say in the title, I wasn't exactly the victim here.

When I was a teen, I myself engaged in assault behavior - namely stalking-like behavior towards women (mostly my own age as a pre-teen or teenager, but not necessarily always). And yes, I engaged in homophobic behavior too. I've even engaged in assault behavior relatively recently, but I've learned so much about why that behavior isn't acceptable since the most recent incident, and needless to say much more so since I was a teen.

I've talked about my ex-girlfriend/ex-finacee before in the post about Debby's DUI, but here's a refresher: she's a rape survivor. And...I guess that speaks for itself in this context, but again you can read more in the previously referred to post. And when I was still trying to get over my breakup, even a year or two later, I wasn't exactly the best ally I thought I was being. One day I was in a chatroom and I was getting emotional and a little worked up and I guess a little bitter about the breakup, and I ended up cracking jokes about my ex's experience as a rape survivor - right in front of who turned out to be another rape survivor.

And yeah, I pretty much blew it with that other person in terms of having any sort of amicable relationship, even as just two virtual people on-line - and I'm not going to lie, our interactions remained tense from that point on. So much so in fact that it got to a point where I felt like I could no longer be a part of that community (although there were other factors, too). But that's not my point. My point isn't about excuses or justifying people acting ignorantly - it's about how people change their ignorant behavior. For me it wasn't even being engaged to marriage with a rape survivor, but it was meeting another one who was able to show me just how dangerous and damaging my ignorant behavior was.

And after I met that person, and really reflected on my behavior and how damaging it was, well...I really thought about my ex as a survivor. And I started doing things, and changing my behavior without even realizing it. And starting having a high interest in organizations that help survivors, and now I'm working to try to combine my interests in young adult lit and these stupid kiddie shows that review here and helping survivors into what I'm hoping will be a brand-new career for me (got an interview two and a half weeks from now, so feel free to wish me luck!)

And in the meantime I met a ton of LGBTQ+ people - gays/lesbians, trans, literally the entire spectrum. My bestest friend in the whole goddamn world (shoutout if you're reading this :) is a transgender woman, and I've known her well before she transitioned. We...have our differences in opinion on how to stamp out transphobia and homophobia, but I at least like to think we agree on not strong trans rights, but total trans rights. And she's not the only transgender woman I'm friends with too - in fact all the trans people I've ever met (as admittedly few as they are) are absolutely outstanding individuals, without exception. And that goes for everyone else I've met and known in the LGBTQ+ spectrum...well, not entirely as every population pool is going to have jerks.

Actually, let's talk about that, because I'm not just somebody ignorant who's committed my own transgressions, but I've been assaulted too. Yes, I can myself say #MeToo. In my senior year of college, another college-aged man, one who lived in my neighborhood and who've I've known, attempted to rape me, going so far as to grab my penis. Years later, when I returned to college to get my teaching degree, yet another college-age man assaulted me on the bus, groping my buttocks.

But I consider both of those to be isolated incidents and in no way indicative of the LGBTQ+ community. In fact, again, I've met tons and tons of people on that spectrum who are outstanding and vastly outnumber scumbags like I just mentioned. Just last week I participated on a campus Day of Remembrance event, where I proudly physically embraced trans and gay people who themselves were kind enough to let me do so, in a moment of understanding and solidarity.

My point being, again, is not to make lame excuses, but to point out that education is how we stop assault and rape.I engaged in the assault behavior I did as a teen because I wasn't educated in how important it was to stop behavior like that - and quite frankly, during that time, at least compared to now, there wasn't a lot of interest in spreading that kind of education. Homophobia back then was rampant, if not virtually institutionalized in society. We haven't made a total changeover, but we as a society are working hard at it, and education has come a long way. I suspect that's Bijou Phillips' same case too - not to excuse her behavior as a teen, but she acted like that because there wasn't an interest in educating people on being LGBTQ+ allies, on being survivor allies, on being allies for people who just feel alienated for whatever reason.

There was very little institutionalized and societal interested in education people when I was a teen or even young adult, and I had to learn the very hard way. I had to come to terms with having someone I love dearly and close to my heart - the woman who I was going to frickin' marry - survive a rape situation so brutal it just about permanently destroyed her life. And even then I still acted ignorant. I had to come to terms with how devastated dear friends in the LGBTQ+ community, especially trans people, were just to live their daily lives and the staggering, shocking suicide statistics. Let me tell you, learning the hard way fucking sucks.

So please, to everyone reading this, I implore you, that it's never too early to introduce kindness, sensitivity, and a sense of ally-ism to your friends and family and reflect on your own behavior. And that identifying and changing behavior is a lot more important than trying to simply "out" and "shame" it. There are people like Weinstein who are so clearly serial abusers and assaulters they simply need to be removed from their positions, but I think as a society we can make great strides towards making sure people are educated to not become another Weinstein in the future.

Extra Thoughts

 - yeah I hope it doesn't come off as disrespectful putting this regular feature into this post but...I'm writing this while having the flu. I was thinking about holding it off but I don't know how long that'll take, and since I still want to do a Thanksgiving post and I want to get this in before Thanksgiving, I decided just do it now. I'm just mentioning this because I'm just hoping I didn't space out on anything I wanted to mention.

 - Part 2 (which will probably be a while from now, maybe even towards the very end of the year) will be more direct about Weinstien and address abuse culture as it applies to these kidcoms we review, particularly since we're still dealing with children here - and yes we'll address my habit of breaking my new year's resolution of "I will not give MVP awards to the prettiest actress just for being the prettiest" here too - see, I still have a ways to go.
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