Erin Andrews is moving on with her life. And from the way the Internet is reacting, you'd think she was moving onto to bigger and better things. With a 55 million dollar settlement, heck, she can now afford to live as lavishly as she wants to, right? She won't have a care in the world.
My, my. How quickly we forget this tried and true life lesson: money can't buy happiness. You know what else it can't buy? Peace of mind. Oh, and it can't repair character or rebuild a damaged reputation, either.
Andrews' victory in court, despite the financial reward, was a moral one. If you watched her testimony in which she had to relive the sexual harassment she endured and you didn't ache for her, then your heart must be cold. Not only was she violated by her stalker, ESPN (her own employer) forced her to go on air to talk about it before they let her return to work. Sexual assault and harassment victims, regardless of the degree of assault or harassment, experience a lot of the same emotions--depression, shock, disbelief, embarrassment, self-blame, etc. The list goes on and on. It's all the same. It's all horrible. It's all overwhelmingly suffocating.
Why are some people, specifically women (I'm looking at you Jenny McCarthy), debating the degree at which a sexual assault or sexual harassment violation occurs? Is there some imaginary line in the sand that says, well this kind of harassment is okay but once it crosses that line, then it's way worse? Seriously? Does a woman who receives a harassing phone call feel any less violated than someone who is physically groped on the street? As someone who has experienced both, I can tell you they feel just as dirty and just as invasive.
Instead of saying Erin Andrews should be happy that some scumbag videotaped her undressing through a peep hole, shouldn't we be saying we're happy that he didn't do worse? For all the men out there who have been mocking this case as it unfolded, what if that had been your daughter? Or your sister? Or wife? Is it as funny now? For all the women out there who have been mocking this case as it unfolded, what if that had been you? Victims of sexual assault and harassment cases are just that--victims. Stop with the semantics. Stop with the victim blaming.
The truth is, Andrews will probably only see an estimated six million, since the violator who videotaped her is responsible for just over half the original amount and the remainder is going to go legal fees. Six million, you say? That's still plenty. Sure it is. And I bet she'd trade every cent if she could go back in time to before this all happened. Every dime she spends will be a painful reminder. Every time she undresses in a hotel from this point forward, even her own bedroom, it will be a painful reminder. Every time she surfs the internet, it will be a painful reminder.
And every time someone says the degree of sexual harassment she endured wasn't that bad, it will be a painful reminder.