Thank you, Rose McGowan, for being the woman to lead an army of many in the continuous battle for women’s* ownership of their bodies. While Harvey Weinstein was getting funded to fondle, the elitist Hollywood bubble stayed silent. TMZ even recently reported that Courtney Love whispered a warning to stay away from the groping man in an interview in 2005, but here we are, 13 accusations and 12 years later, with something actually being done. You are, in huge part, to thank for that.
The toxicity of the men who have it all, viciously taking that which they are not given, is not to be blamed just on Weinstein. The whole community saw it, and members of the #RoseArmy were not shy to call out each “vile little worm,” “deplorable,” and “monster.” McGowan took Ben Affleck’s attempts at sentimentality and called them out for what they were — bullshit.
Affleck sits behind a Facebook profile with a picture that frames him surrounded by faceless people of color, showing him perhaps as an ally, though all I can think of is “rape apologist.” In his status update, he mentions the “additional allegations” against the man he used to work with, and then the need for a collective “we” to do better at protecting “our sisters, friends, co-workers and daughters.”
Affleck’s whole update came after a viral tweet questioned whether or not Meryl Streep knew about Harvey Weinstein — then another tweeter questioned whether or not the mass numbers of men in Weinstein’s orbit knew about as well. Ben Affleck was one of those names. Rose McGowan then tweeted “Ben Affleck, Casey Affleck, how’s your morning, boys.”
But taking down Ben Affleck for his ties to Weinstein was not my girl Rose’s only agenda. She was also calling out Affleck for his post’s lack of recognition that protection doesn’t only come for the women to whom men relate; protection of women shouldn’t be the key at all. The problem is not that men should be protecting women from rape and assault. First of all, women are not the only people being raped or assaulted. Take it from Terry Crews, otherwise known as the incredibly handsome, buff black man you see in Brooklyn Nine-Nine. We are all at danger, from your brothers, your coworkers, your fathers, and your friends. So maybe instead of you protecting us, we should stop it at the goddamn source. And secondly, Ben Affleck, brother of Casey Affleck, how can a man be sickened by assault when they proudly stand by their brother, a fellow accused sexual assaulter?
In order to stop something at the source, we would need to stop things like Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel from happening. Abort the fucking mission. Working on this creep’s films makes anyone’s activism against violence obsolete. Ronan Farrow, Woody Allen’s son, is the investigative journalist who found 13 accounts of allegations against Weinstein. The same son who attempted to resurrect the story of sexual assault that he believes his father performed on his sister when they were children.
Sexual assault by a person of power isn’t solely a Hollywood issue, but how are people expected to stop it in the suburbs or cities if we can’t even stop it when it is practically out in the open? I am eternally grateful for the work of the #RoseArmy for taking down scum like Harvey Weinstein and for working toward calling out the others who have been wearing blinders while the powerful men do whatever they want behind, regardless of the consequences. Twitter silences people like Rose McGowan for telling those complacent in the face of evil to rightfully “fuck off.” And she’s been doing it for years because she has been living with the pain of being a survivor of rape.
Thank you, Rose, for being strong enough to be seen as a survivor of your story but vulnerable enough to recount your story as a victim as well. When it comes to assault by people of power, walking away leaves one as both.
So when will people like Weinstein and Allen see real consequences to their actions? Mariska Hargitay puts people in the slammer on Law & Order: SVU for the things big Hollywood names do on their lunch breaks. Weinstein may not have his empire anymore or the film academy (publicly) at his back, but I’m sure he still goes home to his lush mansion and 5-million-thread-count sheets to count hundred-dollar bills. Weinstein has put a large number of women into intensive therapy. He needs to pay for it in more than just loss of status. California law criminalizes sexual intercourse without consent with three, six, or eight years. If Ben Affleck really wants to protect “our sisters, friends, co-workers, and daughters” maybe we should start at the source by having the police feign interest and investigate these claims.
P.S.: You’re next, Polanski.
*Women, trans people, nonbinary people, and men are all included in the battle against assault, sexual violence, and rape.
RACHEL HULEY is an intern with The Advocate.