Janet reports to her evening shift at a fast food franchise where she has worked as an assistant manager for the past six months. Her assignment tonight is the same as every night, organize her crew of teenagers and college students into a well-oiled machine that serves up burgers within 90-seconds of being ordered, all while minimizing food and labor costs.
It’s a good job that pays well above the median household income for the local area, but keeping a crew of 12 teenagers in line can be a headache sometimes. She is flanked by two shift leads, who manage the grill and front counter operations.
Tonight is a wild night. It’s the local high school’s homecoming, business is heavy, and crowds will soon let out from the homecoming football game to swarm the establishment for the post-game meal.
As the crew ramps up for the Friday night rush, Jimmy, an 18-year old cook who has been on the crew for two years, grabs Tommy, another 18 year old cook, and twists his nipple. Both boys laugh, as does much of the crew. Tommy then looks at Janet and says, “Did you see what Jimmy did? Can I do that to you?”
Janet brushes off the statement, but Tommy persists, even advancing toward her. She orders Tommy back on the job, which he ultimately does after cornering her near the office door.
Janet calls the store’s general manager. Tommy is fired. Jimmy is suspended. A memo is posted concerning appropriate conduct in the workplace, the company’s policy is restated, and the crew is reminded that sexual harassment is not tolerated at this establishment.
However, the damage has been done. The crew turns on Janet, many of whom were friends to Tommy and Jimmy. The two shift leads mock Janet by re-enacting the scene to the amusement of the crew.
The company handled the situation properly, but the crew and middle-managers continued the behavior. Thinking that the company could not fire the entire crew and both shift leads, Janet resigns herself to the situation. Her two options were to quit, or continue working and hope the company joke would soon fade. She chose the latter, and eventually things returned to normal.
Time Magazine honored women like Janet when they named “The Silence Breakers” as Person of the Year this year. All who spoke out against sexual harassment and sexual assault under the #MeToo movement on social media are counted as “Silence Breakers.”
The #MeToo movement gained steam nationally in the wake of sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein, and continued to build with each new set of allegations leveled at Hollywood elites, politicians and business moguls. Sexual harassment and assault victims, mostly women, posted the hashtag on social media, with some telling their stories.
The #MeToo movement has its share of critics. Some blast the movement as a cheap political stunt, while others make jokes about celebrities like Monica Lewinsky joining the movement.
— Monica Lewinsky (@MonicaLewinsky) October 16, 2017
But to politicize the movement, or turn it into a punchline is to spit in the face of the millions of women who post their #MeToo stories on social media, and the millions more who remain silent.
You see, the #MeToo movement is not about disarming a political party, taking out political opponents, or even “taking it to the man.” It’s about giving people like Janet a voice, raising awareness of an issue that many didn’t know was so widespread, comforting the victims by showing they are not alone, all while sending a message that sexually aggressive behavior will no longer be tolerated.
Without regard to the political affiliations of those who started and promoted the movement, #MeToo is the right choice for Person of the Year. It brought to light a rampant sin that needed to be stopped, and it shaped not only the news cycle, but our cultural perceptions of this issue over the past year.
May we repent of our sexual immorality that has allowed this problem to persist unchecked for so long.