As previously reported, on Thursday actor Matt Damon made a rather foolish and arrogant comment about sexual assault instead of just sitting quietly for a moment. The remark came during an interview with ABC News’s Peter Travers (part of the press tour for his latest film, Downsizing) when he was asked for his reaction to the recent glut of sexual misconduct accusations against powerful Hollywood men. To which he replied first that he thought it was “great” that women are “feeling empowered.” And then:
“And we’re going to have to figure—you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”
Yes, Talking Man, we know, and you know who else does? Your ex and Good Will Hunting co-star, Minnie Driver, whom you unceremoniously dumped on Oprah. Take it away, Minnie.
On Saturday, Driver elaborated to The Guardian on why she spoke out against Damon and what she meant by it.
“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 in their ability to understand. 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.”
Alyssa Milano also responded to Damon, with a series of tweets that emphasize the silencing effect of men downplaying and dismissing certain forms of sexual assault and harassment just because they see them happen every day. And because they’ve been taught, through inherited misogyny, which acts to consider “unforgivable” and which “minor” (little in between), but not to imagine—to always continue the work of imagining—what it feels like to live in that forced distinction, and not by choice.