By Tammi Pitzen, Executive Director of The Children’s Advocacy Center of Jackson County
Last month Taylor Swift was awarded one dollar in a law suit against D.J. David Mueller.
If you do not know the story, here is the short version. A few years ago, Taylor Swift was in Denver at a Meet ‘N Greet and David Mueller grabbed her bare butt under her skirt. Her mother later reported it to his employers and they fired him. He then sued for defamation and lost. Taylor Swift counter sued him for sexual assault for 1 dollar and won.
I will be honest that I was never a big fan of Taylor Swift. I liked “Shake It Off” as much as the next guy I guess. It was a catchy tune. If you would have asked me a month ago if I thought she was a good role model for our daughters, I probably would have said, “no”. You can google her and a long string of articles involving boyfriend drama come up.
On August 15, 2017 that changed. I would tell you now that I am thankful for her courage. I am thankful she made a statement when she could have made it about money.
I would even go so far as to say that parents should use this “incident” as a teaching moment for our sons as well as our daughters.
She went to trial when she could have remained silent. This young lady did not back down when the defense attorney tried to place blame on her. She stood proudly and stood firm. She CALLED the OFFENDER out! She clearly and firmly stated, “I’m not going to allow you or your client to say I am to blame.” In my head, this statement is followed by the court room spectators doing the wave!
She received a dollar as her judgement. This move has silenced the would-be naysayers who would claim this was about money. It was about more than money. It was about sending a message.
I think Taylor Swift has changed the conversation and here are the reasons why I think so…
1) By stepping out of the shadows, she has literally just shown the world that you can be a victim of sexual assault, tell your story and be believed. This move will send a message to young teenage girls struggling…to full grown adult women…to the famous and the never known…that there is hope and safety available out there. Heck! Let’s hope the message crosses the gender line and brings hope to all people who have suffered abuse.
2) I do not know at what point it became accepted that men had the right to grope a woman. Somehow the message has been sent that if you are a pretty young girl with a great body, you are asking for someone to touch you and that if they do, it is okay. You should not be so fit or so pretty. Taylor Swift has shown that you can be pretty. You can be successful. AND has boldly reminded the world that it is not okay to grab someone who does not want to be grabbed. Anywhere. Much less on their bare bottom. Boys will be boys is no longer tolerated.
3) You can be 27 and change the world. Your voice matters. You can change the conversation.
4) No matter how much she was pressured, led, or blamed…she held firm and redirected the responsibility back on the offender.
5) The conversation changed when it was not about money. I guess I don’t have a problem if it had been about money. If you are abused, no amount of money is going to change that it happened, but it can give you the resources to recover. But by taking money out of the equation, those who always go there…have no reason to. When I say “go there”…you know what I am talking about…she is only trying to make a buck. She is only trying to ruin his life, his career. She is only trying to bankrupt the poor guy.
He ruined his life and career by making poor choices. She did not bankrupt him. She did not profit in any way from this except to gain an almost 50-year-old woman living in Medford Oregon as a fan.