Minnie Driver Reminds Matt Damon That He “Cannot Understand What Abuse Is Like” and Should Probably Keep Quiet

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We’ve already dragged Matt Damon for his terrible comments about sexual harassment and assault, in which he addressed a conflation between sexual harassment and assault that … isn’t actually happening. “There’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right?” he said. “Both of those behaviors need to be confronted and eradicated, without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”

Nobody’s conflating them here, Matt. We’re just saying that both of them are unacceptable. Is that the part that’s making you uncomfortable?

Damon’s Good Will Hunting co-star Minnie Driver also took him to task for his comments on Twitter and in a recent interview with The Guardian.

“I felt I desperately needed to say something,” she told The Guardian. “I’ve realized 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.”

“It seems to me that [Damon] thinks that because [Louis CK] didn’t rape somebody—so far as we know—that what he did do wasn’t as bad,” she continued. “That’s a problem. If good men like Matt Damon are thinking like that then we’re in a lot of fucking trouble. We need good, intelligent men to say this is all bad across the board, condemn it all and start again.”

Driver also proposed a better, alternative statement for Damon to give next time he’s asked. “How about: it’s all fucking wrong and it’s all bad, and until you start seeing it under one umbrella it’s not your job to compartmentalize or judge what is worse and what is not. Let women do the speaking up right now. The time right now is for men just to listen and not have an opinion about it for once.”

While Driver is simplifying here—Kevin Spacey and Bryan Singer‘s victims, who were almost all male, absolutely deserve to be heard as we reckon with sexual misconduct—her point about the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, “on a daily level,” is incredibly important for men like Damon to understand. The reason that all of these behaviors are condemned is because they exist on a continuum. When we talk about rape culture, we mean a culture where women’s bodies are up for grabs, objects to be touched and appraised whenever a man feels like it and regardless of what the woman wants.

Behavior like “patting someone on the butt” exists on that continuum, and its prevalence and acceptance make it easier for rapists to commit and get away with their crimes. We have to root out both behaviors to create real change.

As Alyssa Milano so aptly summed up:

One hopes that Damon will learn and grow from his public lambasting, but he’s also a dude who’s been given a lot of chances, who’s still buddies with the Affleck brothers, and who continues to make these errors. Hope springs eternal, but I won’t exactly hold my breath.

(Via Jezebel and The Guardian, image: Shutterstock)

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