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What Lindsay Lohan Got Wrong in Her #MeToo Interview

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Sometimes the news isn’t as straightforward as it’s made to seem. Renee Fabian, The Mighty’s associate editor of news and lifestyle, explains what to keep in mind if you see this topic or similar stories in your newsfeed. This is The Mighty Takeaway.

Editor's Note

If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

This piece was updated Aug. 13, 2018.

When asked about her thoughts regarding the #MeToo movement in an interview with U.K.’s The Times on Saturday, actress Lindsay Lohan got it all wrong.

“So, I don’t really have anything to say. I can’t speak on something I didn’t live, right?” she started. “Look, I am very supportive of women. Everyone goes through their own experiences in their own ways.”

She continued, stating:

If it happens at that moment, you discuss it at that moment. You make it a real thing by making it a police report. I’m going to really hate myself for saying this, but I think by women speaking against all these things, it makes them look weak when they are very strong women. You have these girls who come out, who don’t even know who they are, who do it for the attention. That is taking away from the fact that it happened.

Lohan perpetuated one of the most treacherous myths about sexual assault — that women who report sexual violence are just seeking attention with false claims. This is categorically untrue. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, only 2 to 10 percent of sexual assault allegations are false.

RAINN reports that out of every 1,000 reported rapes, only 310 are reported. Of those 310 reports, 57 will result in an arrest and six of those perpetrators will go to jail. An estimated 63 percent of sexual assaults go unreported. There are many reasons why someone may choose not to file a report including being afraid their claim might not be taken seriously.

The #MeToo movement was born out of the collective strength of sexual assault survivors. When survivors speak out about their #MeToo moment, they give strength to other survivors, allowing them to speak their truth and reclaim their narrative as well as their lives.

This collective strength is something Mighty contributor Mila Anne shared in her piece, “How ‘Me Too’ Helped Me Face My Fear of Speaking Out About My Abuse:

I began to feel my voice growing stronger and louder, and I found myself not just “having” to tell my story but wanting to tell it. I wanted to speak out and inspire others the way all of those who were speaking out had inspired me.

I wanted to give hope to those who have faced the horrible thing that is abuse and  show them that while the journey is long, painful and scary, it also so very worth it.

The “Me Too” movement showed me there is not only unity in our voices but there is strength and empowerment in numbers, and no matter how alone you might feel, you’re not.

After Lohan’s comments, others took to social media to set the record straight:

Following the backlash after her initial interview on the subject, on Sunday Lohan took to People to clarify her comments, and “apologize for any hurt and distress.” She told the magazine:

The quote solely related to my hope that a handful of false testimonies out of a tsunami of heroic voices do not serve to dilute the importance of the #MeToo movement, and all of us who champion it. However, I have since learned how statements like mine are seen as hurtful, which was never my intent. I’m sorry for any pain I may have caused.

I feel very strongly about the #MeToo movement and have the utmost respect and admiration for the women brave enough to come forward and speak out about their experiences. Their testimony has served to protect those who can’t speak, and give strength to those who have struggled to have their voices heard.

Though Lohan made an attempt to walk back her initial comments, it’s unfortunate she said them in the first place. They were both wrong and dangerous. Sexual assault is real. Those who speak up and seek justice are strong, and it’s important to build each other up and believe it when we say, #MeToo.

Image via Creative Commons/Shimmy Ahmed

Originally published: August 10, 2018
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