Recently much of the public bore witness to an epitomising example of the worst case scenario for movements like #MeToo. If you haven't been keeping up with Celebrity Big Brother, first of all congratulations, but you need to know that recently an apparent celebrity named Roxanne Pallett felt confident enough to falsely accuse a fellow housemate of abuse despite being cognisant that recordings from several different angles would attest to it having never happened.
The accused individual was one Ryan Thomas and his existence in the house was made stressful and exceedingly unpleasant because Roxanne saw an opportunity to play the victim. While appalling, this example is made laughable when compared to those men who have had their lives entirely ruined by similarly minded women because they were not so lucky as to be on live television at the time of the supposed incident. It's almost as though an opponent of the #MeToo movement scripted this entire event.
I am not writing this to expose as the movement as wholly bad as actually I think it's had an enormous positive effect on the working lives of women. We cannot be blind to just how much inappropriate and disgusting behaviour occurs, but we must all take very seriously our bias when confronted with an accusation. My personal bias is to believe the woman, but I do acknowledge that this is in fact a bias. To be biased either way to is obscure the facts and can be ruinous to a person's career and / or personal life. In one case you are ignoring the protestations of a victim and leaving her to continue suffering in silence, and int he other you're judging guilt without evidence and annihilating a man's reputation.
There is a balance to be had here, but it requires we do not give in to our instincts to adopt an extreme position. Women need to feel more safe when around men, and men need to know that they cannot have their hopes for the future dashed in an instant by an ill-willed women. As ever, this calls for nuance, but I'm afraid I don't see much of it around these days.
Photo credit to valeriy osipov