In the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct against Asia Argento, many people are discrediting the #MeToo Movement. Argento, who was one of the first few women to come forward with allegations of rape against Harvey Weinstein is facing accusations of sexually assaulting a minor. As per a report in The New York Times, Argento allegedly paid $380,000 to actor Jimmy Bennett. He has accused Asia of sexual assault in a California hotel room years ago, when he was only two months past his 17th birthday.

While this report has come as a shock, the criticism #MeToo Movement has received due to it seems unfair. Must the actions of one woman be used to undermine a global movement? Is it fair to use this as a yardstick to judge all women who came forward with allegations of sexual assault?

#MeToo doesn’t exclusively stand for sexual victimisation of women at the hands of men. It is about every sexual assault survivor irrespective of gender, standing up to their assailants.

#MeToo is led by all of us

The issue here is that many had hailed Argento as a leader in #MeToo Movement. Argento’s voice against Weinstein was a very powerful one no doubt, but this movement is a crowd-led movement. It doesn’t belong to one single person; so no single face can be a leader here. Every voice known or unknown, every face recognizable or anonymous has made #MeToo Movement what it is today.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • Italian actor Asia Argento reportedly paid $380,000 Jimmy Bennett who had accused her of sexual misconduct when he was a minor.
  • Argento was one of the first women to come forward with allegations of rape against Harvey Weinstein at the onset of the #MeToo Movement.
  • These allegations have led people to question the credibility of #MeToo.
  • People need to remember that #MeToo is a movement of people.

Another thing people need to accept is that it is possible for one person to be both victim and perpetrator when it comes to sexual crimes. True feminists will refuse to treat Argento any differently should she be proven guilty. If she assaulted a minor boy, then she will face the consequences.

#MeToo was never men versus women because sexual crimes don’t stem from gender, they stem from power. Predators and victims do not have a specific gender, sexual orientation or economic background, and this is why #MeToo is for everyone. People cannot discredit a significant movement like this just because of one woman’s conduct. It is way bigger than one woman.

#MeToo has helped many people find a voice and courage. Bennett too is getting a voice from #MeToo and he will find support in this community.

This movement is a very important social cause and based on a public backing. It cannot be written off just because a prominent face standing up has been charged guilty. The way Argento is being lamented on social media by #MeToo supporters proves our stand. Despite all this, if some people think #MeToo is a sham, then they are just too near-sighted by their prejudices.

Look at the millions of survivors who stood by it beyond gender and sexuality. Once you see them, you won’t limit #MeToo’s credibility to just one person’s actions.

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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