I’ve been toying with how to write about all that has been in the news lately. As a women there are quite a few feelings that go through my core as I read about Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Ed Westwick… and since this is a sports focused blog, Zeke Elliott.
Sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence. They are all actions that can be committed by women against men and men against women. I acknowledge this. But what we have seen as of late is the uncovering of decades of abuse of men in positions of power against women… and the institutions that have seemed to hide them… until now.
Zeke Elliott’s suspension has been back and forth all season. Six games, appealed, overturned, upheld. It’s hard to keep straight. But one of the glaring issues became apparent to me about a week ago when a friend of mine said: “Wait – why was he even suspended in the first place?”
Zeke’s suspension was upheld yesterday, so I figured it’s time to write something. Here it goes.
In sports media, it has gone back and forth about Zeke’s suspension to the point where what he has done has been forgotten, somewhat. The NFL investigated accusations against Elliott by Tiffany Thompson that he committed engaged in acts of physical violence against her. After Ray Rice’s incident, the NFL boosted their Personal Conduct Policy with harsher penalties for domestic violence since a lot of people criticized the league for their soft stance on Rice (two game suspension – though Rice never played another game in the NFL).
People have questioned the accuser’s credibility, as they often do. I hope that we can step away from that for a second and look at the greater picture. I want to point out something that is very important – these punitive measures mean a lot to women who would like to see justice in some form.
Solutions to the problems of domestic violence, rape, and sexual assault certainly do not come easy, nor will they happen overnight. But what we need is to set a precedence. The NFL has done this, though Elliott has continued to play and spin the wheels of justice.
Beyond the NFL, we see women coming forward accusing powerful men of rape and sexual assault. I saw some mock the #MeToo movement, but that I sure hope, is because they do not understand it. It’s not some spammy chain letter post, but a way to promote awareness and establish a network of solidarity. There is an important message there – You are not alone.
Strength in numbers is a real thing. In this case, strength in numbers means that coming forward with your story will make it easier for other women to do the same.
The movement had helped established that sexual assault is a problem. Now it is time to figure out the mechanism for change. What is being done now is turning focus toward institutions and systems that have allowed sexual assault to flourish.
We see what is being done in the NFL. We’ll see what happens with Hollywood and the entertainment industry… and beyond.