MeToo movement deserves all of our support

Editor,

It’s about time that Washington, D.C., and Hollywood, among other institutions (the Olympics, the U.S. Military, etc.) deal with the sexual assault and abuse problem that most women know from personal experience exists. As a clinical psychologist with over 35 years experience, I have treated many sexual abuse and assault survivors who have suffered with problems of post-traumatic symptoms, substance abuse, self-blame, and fear and disability in their sexual lives, many of which are lifelong effects. Though incident rates have reportedly been decreasing since the 1980s when our culture began to believe victims, the accepted statistic in the field is that by the time girls reach the age of 18, one in 4-6 has probably been exposed to some form of sexual abuse and for boys, the number has been one in 8-10. If the statistic for child sexual abuse is that high for girls, I venture to say that nearly every woman has had some form of sexual impropriety or assault foisted on her by the time she reaches mature womanhood. Yes, people lie and make up things. But, by and large, the ones who make up these accusations are mentally disturbed or are desperate for attention from someone. Also, often their accusations will be taken back before long. It is rare for a false accuser to go all the way through to the end of legal proceedings. Why has it taken so long for Hollywood, etc. to catch up with the rest of the culture? Because, the most difficult situations for sexual assault victims are those where the perpetrator holds a position of power over the victim: bosses, mentors, supervisors, leaders, etc. Needing or wanting something from the perpetrator makes it a lot harder to say no or to take legal action. Furthermore, the wealthier perpetrators are, the more able they are to bully victims into silence. The #MeToo movement deserves ALL of our support.

Christine Hillegass, Psy.D.

Livingston

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