Letter: Sharing one sexual harassment survival story doesn’t devalue another | VailDaily.com

Letter: Sharing one sexual harassment survival story doesn’t devalue another

In response to Jacqueline Cartier’s column on Monday, Nov. 20 (“#MeToo, really?”): Who are you to say whose story is more important than another’s? Who are you to judge the voice of a sexual harassment victim?

It is our responsibility to listen to these victims, give them a safe space and work to make sure this never happens again. It is not our right to judge their stories, judge their actions or blame the victim for wrongdoing — and especially not blame them for the courageous act of sharing their story. It’s not up to the victims to change. It’s the responsibility of the attackers to know the difference between right and wrong; between consent and non-consent.

If the flood of sexual harassment victims coming forward horrifies you, the morally and ethically responsible response is not to say that there are too many claims of sexual harassment. Instead of being irritated by the amount of allegations, you should be appalled by the number of men accused of sexual harassment. That is the true crime here.

The #MeToo campaign blatantly shows how often, and how cavalierly, sexual harassment and sexual assault occur. It is not meant to drown anyone else out. It is meant to raise ourselves, and others, up out of darkness, support one another and let everyone else know that they are not alone.

This chorus should bother all of us, but not because it is too loud. Making these voices heard is the only way we are going to prevent more sexual harassment in the future. It is unacceptable to think that someone may instead be silent because you accused them of drowning out another victim. Against all odds, we should be supporting these voices. Finally, sexual harassment victims might feel they have a space to share their story, and we all need to encourage them to do so.

These stories are not here for you. They’re here for the survivors to share. Do they bother you? Good. They should. They should bother all of us. I can only hope that these voices and stories will prevent more incidents or attacks from occurring, and I hope with every fiber of my being that this never happens to one of my sisters, friends, coworkers or even me. But if it did happen, I would believe them, and I would support them, and I would never accuse them of devaluing another by sharing their own survival story.

Lauren Gotthelf

Minturn