I love the dark as pitch morning skies of autumn. Some can’t wait for daylight savings. Me, not so much. I love the cool, velvet air settling over my skin as I walk the boys out to their Daddy’s truck and load them up for day care. On the way back to the house, I glance up at the sky and find the dotted outline of the highly visible and celebrated constellation of the mythical hunter Orion striding confidently in the darkness.
I used to love me some Orion, beginning with a next-door neighbor crush long, long ago. This neighbor was the most golden of mortals with sun-kissed hair and stardust eyes. He drove a gold Trans Am and wore royal purple under the Friday night lights. Football or female, he caught nearly any prey he pursued. He was the stuff of legends, and his middle name was Orion.
From there, my fascination with Orion’s mythology grew, despite the numerous slanderous stories against him. His lore is peppered with sexual assault and harassment – from the violation of a vulnerable young princess to the rape of a chaste goddess and hunting partner. Still, I chose to focus on the legends that cast him in a kinder light, a star-crossed-lover light. He and Artemis were in love and her twin brother, Apollo, was jealous. The sex was consensual and her brother tricked her into killing Orion with a little target practice from a tremendous distance.
I chose the stories of romance over the stories of rape.
Enter Harvey Weinstein. The stuff of legends. A highly visible and mythical hunter striding confidently in the darkness amidst the stars of Hollywood. Apparently, the rumors have been swirling around him for year. Rumors of sexual misconduct and worse. But he was big. He was powerful. He could make wannabes into stars.
Over the past few weeks, horrific accounts from young ingenues and established actors alike have been tumbling out of painful places and into the light: white bathrobes and expensive hotels; egregious propositions and loathsome acts; massages and masturbation and molestation and rape. All under the guise of normalcy.
It’s a tale as old as time, this raw abuse of power wielded over extreme vulnerability. And sadly, the victims are abused first by the aggressor and then by society. The two conspire to silence or ignore or brush aside the allegations, so the mighty hunter might continue to shine and seek new prey.
Society chooses romance over rape. Everybody loves it when a star is born. Nobody wants to know what happened behind the breakthrough. Nobody wants to know the dark bits behind the glitter and gold.
Think of all the powerful hunters in the past who’ve had allegations of sexual violations come to light, yet somehow remained the victor, starting with the leader of the most powerful nation in the world: Donald Trump. Society HEARD him brag about assaulting women, yet he was STILL elected president. All that glitters is definitely not gold there. It’s orange. And rotten to the core. But celebrated, nonetheless.
And there are so many others who have been accused — some still celebrated, others not so much — but all remain out of prison: Bill Cosby. Woody Allen. Ben Roethlisberger. Roman Polanski. R. Kelly.
Harvey Weinstein is merely the latest of many high and mighty hunters. He should not get away with his crimes. None of them should. But if society doesn’t change its ways, history is doomed to repeat itself.
Yes, his name is mud. Yes, he’s been removed from the Academy. Woody Allen is still a member. So is Roman Polanski and Bill Cosby, for that matter… so maybe we’re finally taking a step in the right direction. But something tells me he’s just a sacrificial lamb. He’s being thrown out in disgrace so others might remain to hunt their prey in the glittering darkness of Hollywood desire.
Weinstein’s behavior was extreme, to be sure, but the #metoo social media firestorm has uncovered just how endemic sexual harassment and assault truly is. We all know those 1 in 4 numbers. But those numbers don’t include harassment. Add that to the mix, and the numbers run closer to 100 percent. That’s ridiculous. That’s bullshit. That’s patriarchy at its most vile.
Me? #MeToo. I’ve been harassed. I’ve been manhandled. I’ve said no. That no was ignored. I never considered it rape because we were romantically involved. I was taught to believe it’s only rape if it’s a stranger. It’s only rape if it hurts you physically. It’s only rape if it’s violent and vicious and you’re terrified for your life.
And yes, that is most definitely rape. But so is sex without consent. Period. That’s what I’ve read and heard. That’s what I know in my heart of hearts is true.
But even though I know that, sometimes I feel like maybe I’m just twisting things up. He was just drunk. And strong. And persistent. And sloppy. And on top of me. And I couldn’t get him off me.
But remember, I was taught its only rape if it’s violent and vicious and you’re terrified for your life. And while I was terrified, I never thought I might die. And I thought, this is normal. This sort of thing happens. I chose romance over rape.
In some lore, Orion was killed by a scorpion’s sting. And up there, in the night sky, he is constantly pursued by Scorpius. He can never rest, as Scorpius is forever on his trail and ready to strike again.
Those women (close to fifty and counting) violated by Weinstein, I see them all as scorpions. And they’ve caught that motherfucking predator. And every deadly sting is one more nail in his coffin.
No, not every story is romantic and not every superstar should be celebrated. Some should crash to the earth with a momentous and terrible force.
Fall, Harvey, fall. And as for you, Orion, go join him in Hades.