I was fortunate, together with approximately 100 people to be able to attend the first MeToo debate in Coffs Harbour last night. And what a debate it turned out to be.
The four panels presented either for or against the MeToo movement, which basically came into the media spotlight via sexual harassment charges against Hollywood’s movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.
Sexual harassment and domestic violence have been a subject of discussion here in Australia as well as everywhere in the world for many, many years, especially Middle Eastern Countries.
Last night’s audience upon entering the venue where asked by the volunteers ”do you believe the MeToo movement has gone too far, not far enough or undecided”. For me I said ”undecided” my friend said ”no”.
Early in the evening, the MC read out the results of the survey that the audience had given prior to entering the event and 40% were undecided, 14% said yes and 46% said no. These results were recalculated after the event and 10% were undecided, 74% said no and 16% said yes.
The panelist that had a huge impact on the crowd was a gay gentleman, who had been sexually assaulted at the age of 12 by a 32-year-old female teacher. This had a huge impact on his entire life and he didn’t say anything about the incident until he was 30. During these years from age 12 to 30, he had difficulty with schooling, work, drugs, and alcohol and needed counseling for many years. Although he was nervous telling his story you could hear a pin drop in the audience.
He now assists men who have been sexually assaulted by a man or woman. He quoted in his presentation the statistics within the LGBQI community has the most sexually and violent incidents in the country. This appeared to be a surprise to the audience.
From my observation of the evening, in my opinion, what is apparent with this whole MeToo movement is the lack of ’respect’ for one another, man or woman, nationality and religious beliefs respect is missing and as a nation we need to drive respect throughout our schooling system, workplace and of course our own homes. Respect is a deep admiration for someone or something drawn out by his or her abilities, qualities or achievements. If we don’t have respect for one another our society suffers.