Awesome Twitter thread perfectly sums up society’s attitude to sexual assault

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Amy Swales
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The Harvey Weinstein scandal has opened up the conversation on sexual harassment, abuse and assault.

Men and women are telling their personal stories, those in positions of power are being publicly called out on unacceptable behaviour and many are having their eyes opened to just how widespread and serious the problem truly is.

Now one viral tweet has perfectly captured how many women are feeling about the excuses of those accused of misconduct.  

It’s an issue that disproportionately affects women, and much of the last few weeks’ coverage has seen high-profile men taken to task and being forced to apologise, either for their own past behaviour or for not doing anything about behaviour they witnessed from others.

Unsurprisingly, many of the apologies haven’t been received as well as the authors may have hoped, riddled with unsatisfactory explanations and excuses – not least from Weinstein himself.

Additionally, the internet has been ringing with entirely predictable calls of #notallmen and a good chunk of victim-blaming.

Now one woman, feminist writer and podcaster Kate Harding, has summed up the issue in one genius Twitter post – and her tweet has encouraged some perfect responses.

Prompted by the apology of Mark Halperin, a former NBC News journalist accused of sexual harassment by several women, Harding wrote, “I am sorry for all the times I stabbed men, just a little, in my previous workplace. After years of counseling, I stopped stabbing men.”

In a statement posted on Twitter, Halperin had said he felt “profound guilt” and that he’d had weekly counselling to address the causes of his “inappropriate manner”. Since then, according to Halperin, his conduct at work had been “very different” and he would be “spending time with family and friends, as I work to make amends and contributions both large and small.”

Harding’s tweet, perfectly skewering Halperin’s statement while being applicable to many of the apologies doing the rounds at the moment, quickly gained momentum, with almost 80,000 likes and 25,000 retweets at time of writing – as well as hundreds of incredible replies.

Some focused on the fallback of era, writing, “In the 90s, everyone was stabbing men”, “It was a different time” and “I’m not saying it’s good or bad, but it was the Bobbitt age.”

Then there was the standard ‘women definitely want it, despite what they say’ defence, with one Twitter user writing, “Are you sure the men didn’t like the stabbing? Most just like the attention.”

There was some blame on the men’s attire and alcohol consumption too, with one user pointing out that “Many men dress, walk, talk, smile, eat, and drink in a way that invites stabbing.”

Another said, “You know what? If these men don’t want to be stabbed, they shouldn’t wear short-sleeved shirts.”

This tweet, meanwhile, sums up what many think about those who’ve said they were aware of allegations, but didn’t think them serious enough to do something about.

Of course, there's always the general disbelief too.

And other ridiculousness.

While funny, the thread illustrates the many and varied ways that sexual harassment and assault has become so rife and accepted in society – by reversing the sexes, it highlights just how indefensible such attitudes are.

If you have been sexually assaulted or raped, contact Rape Crisis for information, advice and support.

Image: Larm Rmah