PHS 795 Student Laura Bunke draws connections from current events to principles of population health. In response to an article commenting on France’s consideration of enacting fines for catcalling and other forms of sexual harassment, she writes:
After Trump’s campaign and election and the Harvey Weinstein, many women have been speaking up about sexual harassment. It feels that this has been a head line in some way for the past 6 months with more women coming forward and speaking out. The #MeToo and, #BalanceTonPorc (#Expose Your Pig). in France, this past two weeks has highlighted how many women are affected and show people that it happens to so many they personally know. The outcry has been criticized by some saying women don’t owe any one their story or that this is better handled in court. I think we are at a turning point and the fact that social media gave so many women a chance to identify and speak out is healthy and helpful to the cause.
There are several articles surrounding this topic in the US, but I picked this one from France because they are actually taken action to change the culture. This article states that there are proposals under ‘discussions to fine men for aggressive catcalling or lecherous behavior toward women in public, to extend the statute of limitations in cases of sexual assault involving minors and to create a new age ceiling under which minors cannot legally consent to a sexual relationship.’
If our countries took sexual harassment more seriously and changed the culture of how women are treated, I believe the mental and physical health of half of our population would be better. We talked in class about how internalized stress can affect a person’s health in so many ways. We thought of this mostly with racial and SES disparities, but I think we could apply it to gender disparities as well. Many women carry the burden of remembering an unwanted sexual advance and having their guard up to defend themselves from another. How did we let this be our culture for so long? And now that we are here, how do we change our policies, laws, and conversations to protect women and change the actions of men?