It’s not a witch hunt. Please, just stop with that.
These men crying out against this “witch hunt” that is happening against men (mostly white men, actually) need to check themselves. Comparing #MeToo and holding people accountable for their actions to a systematic persecution of marginalized people is both offensive and meant to defuse from the actual issue at hand. Don’t let it.
Let’s start with the simple. What is an actual witch hunt? A witch hunt is a search for a person labelled “witch” or evidence of witch craft often involving moral panic or mass hysteria. From about 1450 to 1750 there was a wide spread witch hunt that happened in Europe and America, and an estimated 200K “witches” were tortured, burnt, or hanged in the Western world from 1500 to 1800.
And guess what, this heavily targeted women who didn’t fit the “norm”. Historically, witch hunts involved powerful state and religious agencies identifying and then executing vulnerable people, mostly women and other outsiders (translation: not white men). And most of these people being punished were not actually “witches” as defined by the church, just vulnerable outsiders (again: not white men).
Contrary, these men in the public eye being accused of sexual misconduct are, for the most part, incredibly powerful and actually guilty.
Next. Arther Miller wrote “The Crucible” in 1953 as an allegory for McCarthyism, when the government ostracized people for being Communists, and went on a rabid hunt for possible communists. Arther Miller was one of many being accused of Communist sympathy. He felt he was being hunted and it was unjust. So he wrote a play to state his case that this “witch hunt” happening was absurd and founded in paranoia. Also, he was a Communist.
And since then the term “witch hunt” has been applied more metaphorically than literally. By men who want you to ignore their actions and guilt.
Calling the #MeToo movement a witch hunt is utter nonsense. But accusing these women who are finally speaking their truths has a point. Powerful (white) men are not heretics and witches before the Salem magistrates or the Inquisition, nor are they alleged Communists. Losing their jobs is not equivalent to the loss of life or freedom. Being held accountable is not a form of repression. These powerful men attempting to equate their fate to these historical levels of victimhood is not an accident. They are trying to generate sympathy and doubt. They want you to believe that they are in exile, when really they have never been forced to consider their actions and they simply have no idea how to. God forbid they admit they did something wrong, let alone believe it. No, they are victims of a witch hunt!
We cannot allow these men to casually dismiss these atrocious actions by appropriating the rhetoric of the oppressed to hold off their own accountably. We must keep our attention on the victims (note: not the white men), listen to their stories. These women sharing their #MeToo gain nothing in power, and everything in strength. They aren’t maliciously hunting men down, they are taking back their own power by telling the truth of what happened.
It’s not a coincidence that once one woman comes forward with a story accusing a powerful man of sexual abuse that several more come forward with similar stories. These crimes are not isolated, one-off instances. These aren’t momentary lapses in judgement. These are men exploiting their power over and over and then shaming their victims into silence. #MeToo and #TimesUp says no more.
It’s not a witch hunt, it’s a reckoning.