Yesterday, news that admitted sexual assaulter Louis C.K. made a return to stand-up set the internet on fire. Across comment boards and social media, a debate raged about whether it was too soon for his return, what the place of abusers will be as the Me Too movement progresses, and if some don’t deserve a so-called second chance. Though in C.K.’s case, this would be more like his sixth chance, because this wasn’t the first time he faced consequences for masturbating in front of unwilling co-workers, just the most public. Anyhow, for victims of sexual misconduct and their allies, yesterday was infuriating and exhausting. But it wasn’t all bad.
Our outrage was not fruitless. Our voices were heard. We don’t yet know what will become of C.K. and his comedy career. But we saw waves and waves of people cry out, “Enough!” We banded together and did something incredible. For starters, we showed sexual assault survivors that their stories are being heard and remembered. And we encouraged a sense of community through our shared passion for a better future.
ugh. you and me both. for all the righteous anger that mess stirred up, it was comforting to see so many of us getting in formation & shutting it down. hope today is a better day for all of us— Franchesca Ramsey (@chescaleigh) August 29, 2018
Some took the opportunity of C.K.’s repulsive return to point out other sensational comedians who deserve attention, and who—funny enough!—have never used comedy clubs or television sets as a hunting ground. In response to a Kathy Griffin tweet, Padma Lakshmi shared a stellar list of recommendations. (Which The Cut compiled into a video-rich list.)
THIS. Why don't we give our attention to people who are actually funny: @Lesdoggg @Party_Harderson @juliothesquare @anafabregagood @bowenyang @catccohen @poregan @ihatejoelkim @MattRogersTho the list goes on! https://t.co/JOoMwqSTYz— Padma Lakshmi (@PadmaLakshmi) August 28, 2018
But perhaps best of all was the impact of The Village Voice writer Talia Lavin. When comedian Michael Ian Black decided to use his position of fame and privilege to advocate for a “pathway” back for abusers like C.K., Lavin was one of the people who called out how he was putting the perpetrator’s well-being ahead of the victims’.
Cool, your attitude is making it less safe for women comics to survive in their chosen field without being sexually assaulted and then lied about— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) August 28, 2018
And when that tweet had plenty of men pouring into her mentions, she responded with a thoughtful idea, the #notallmenchallenge.
Something remarkable happened. One after another, men on the internet chose not to mansplain what Talia really meant, or argued they are real feminists, or condescended or cried out “NOT ALL MEN!” Instead, they actually donated to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. And she has the receipts.
Black even apologized, made a donation, and credited Lavin.
I'm making a donation to both right now. I think Talia did some great work today to make me defend a position that was, ultimately, not defensible. I understand that and, again, I apologize. https://t.co/nzx4nkODxq— Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) August 28, 2018
By Lavin’s estimation, the gauntlet she threw down, challenging men to prove they are the good allies they claim to be led to about $3000 in donations to RAINN in one day.
i am very bad at math, but based on the suggested $25 donation and my replies and DMs, the #notallmenchallenge raised almost $3k for abuse survivors through @RAINN. That’s so many phone calls answered, rape kits tested and people educated. Thank you all. 😭 https://t.co/xgUwqFCvC5— Talia Lavin (@chick_in_kiev) August 29, 2018
Yesterday was a reminder that storm clouds can come out of nowhere and boom and rattle us. But we can do something. Together, we can become the silver lining we want and need.
Header Image Source: Getty