What abuse is like on a daily level

Minnie Driver isn’t having it.

The actor Minnie Driver has told the Guardian that men “simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level” and should not therefore attempt to differentiate or explain sexual misconduct against women.

And why can’t they understand it? Because they’re not on the receiving end of it.

Driver was discussing comments by Matt Damon, whom she once dated and with whom she starred in the Oscar-winning 1997 film Good Will Hunting. In an interview with ABC News this week, Damon said alleged sexual misconduct by powerful men involved “a spectrum of behaviour”.

Blah blah blah pat on the butt blah blah rape blah.

He added that society was in a “watershed moment” and said it was “wonderful that women are feeling empowered to tell their stories and it’s totally necessary”. But he said: “We live in this culture of outrage and injury, that we’re going to have to correct enough to kind of go, ‘Wait a minute. None of us came here perfect.’”

Who’s “we,” Kemosabe? Who’s this “we” that’s going to have to correct? Where was this “we” when Harvey and Louis and Charlie were doing their thing?

In her first response to Damon, Driver wrote on Twitter: “Good God, seriously?

“Gosh it’s so interesting (profoundly unsurprising) how men with all these opinions about women’s differentiation between sexual misconduct, assault and rape reveal themselves to be utterly tone deaf and as a result, systemically part of the problem.”

Tone deaf and…maybe a little anxious? Possibly worried about their own position on that “spectrum of behavior”?

On Saturday, Driver told the Guardian: “I felt I desperately needed to say something. I’ve realised that most men, good men, the men that I love, there is a cut-off. They simply cannot understand what abuse is like on a daily level.

“I honestly think that until we get on the same page, you can’t tell a woman about their abuse. A man cannot do that. No one can. It is so individual and so personal, it’s galling when a powerful man steps up and starts dictating the terms, whether he intends it or not.”

It’s not his call, is it. It’s not Matt Damon’s call how “not perfect” Louis CK’s actions were.

Speaking to ABC, Damon compared allegations against Weinstein, Al FrankenKevin Spacey and the comedian Louis CK, whom he commended for his remorseful response.

“That’s the sign of somebody who – well, we can work with that,” Damon said, adding: “I don’t know Louis CK. I’ve never met him. I’m a fan of his, but I don’t imagine he’s going to do those things again. You know what I mean? I imagine the price that he’s paid at this point is so beyond anything … ”

Ah there’s that “we” again. Who can work with that? Matt Damon can, apparently – well goody for him, but he’s not the only person who would have to “work with that,” is he. It’s nice that he doesn’t imagine Louis CK will do those things again, but he’s not one of the people LCK would be doing it to if he did do it again, is he. It’s touching that he thinks the price LCK has paid is so beyond anything, but on the other hand has he given much thought to the price LCK’s targets have paid without having creeped on anyone? Has he given any thought to that?

Driver argued that men should not be granted the power to interpret abuse inflicted on women without the risk of redoubling an injustice they can scarcely understand.

“I felt that what Matt Damon was saying was an Orwellian idea, we are all equal except that some us are more equal than others,” she said. “Put abuse in there … that all abuse is equal but some is worse.”

And men get to make the call.

“There is not a woman I know,” Driver said, “myself included, who has not experienced verbal abuse and sexual epithets their whole fucking life, right up to being manhandled and having my career threatened several times by men I wouldn’t sleep with.”

Let’s ask Matt Damon exactly how much that matters.

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