It has been a year since the #MeToo movement began, and a lot has changed. Most of that change has absolutely been for the better. Without question.

Everyone can certainly agree that no woman (or man) should ever be sexually assaulted in any circumstance and, of course, no one should ever be preyed upon by a superior or a person in a position of power who threatens to ruin their career (either directly or indirectly) if they don’t accept unwanted advances.

It is sad it took a movement to define boundaries that should have always been a given, but at least it has happened, so the bad actors know it will never be tolerated again. That part of the movement is pretty black and white and lauded by everyone.

It’s the gray area that’s much more complicated and brings up debate among women over whether every action and/or correction that has occurred in the wake of this movement has been or will be beneficial for the continued advancement of women’s rights and/or our journeys up the corporate ladder.

Before moving on, it should be noted there are many, many, many, many men in positions of power or just working alongside their equals who are wonderful bosses or coworkers who do nothing but support and elevate their employees or colleagues. Even before this movement, it has been the best time to be a woman in the workforce in the history of America. And I think that truth often gets lost in this discussion. And it shouldn’t.

The confirmation process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh over the last couple of weeks prompted a lot of fiery debate among women I know about not only the confirmation process, but also the #MeToo movement as a whole. And though I have watched many of these debates get really heated (with friends vowing to never speak to each other again), I think these conversations were long overdue.

I have been listening to the second season of Slate’s “Slow Burn” podcast on the Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal. It’s fantastic and definitely worth a listen, as is the first season on Watergate. Both have many direct parallels to what is happening today. And it sort of makes you feel better knowing the country was just as partisan and messed up back then as it seems to be now. Misery loves company, right?

Anyway, on one of the episodes in the Clinton-Lewinsky series, the host interviewed prominent feminists from the time. As the host stated, it has become a widely accepted notion now that ‘90s women and feminists really failed Lewinsky back then — that today, she would have been treated as the victim of a sexual predator, not a home-wrecking tramp.

There were a few feminists who viewed her as a victim then and said so. But there was also another contingent of women out there who were vigorously defending Monica at the time, just not as a victim. They argued she was a grown woman and this was a relationship she wanted and people should not be treating her as helpless prey — that women were stronger than that — that we have been fighting for our own “sexual agency” for decades, and we were not victims. If we want to sleep with powerful men, then by God, we can. “More power to you, sister! You go girl!” — was the sentiment.

That part of the story is largely forgotten today. And certainly through today’s lens most people would not view what happened between Lewinsky and Clinton as female empowerment, but predation.

But still, I see something akin to those two camps once again emerging between women as we try to navigate through the post #MeToo world.

As I was having discussions with my own friends and acquaintances over the last couple of weeks, I was struck by their many differing views on this issue.

Many folks just assume all women have the same opinion on this. And that is not the case.

After Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified about her alleged assault at the hands of Kavanaugh, we all saw many women take to the streets, and especially to social media, to speak about their own experiences as victims of sexual assault (or misconduct) and how Dr. Ford was to be believed without question, as all survivors should be, no matter what.

But there were also a lot of women who remained quiet, only whispering to trusted friends about this.

Here are some of the whispers I have heard either firsthand or secondhand over the last couple of weeks from women, liberal AND conservative, all of whom are professionals who have excelled in their careers:

“I am sooooo sick of this ‘all women are victims’ crap. I do not and have not ever considered myself a victim,” one friend said. That was followed by, “But, of course, you can’t say that out loud right now.”

Another quietly weighed in.

“Some of the things I have seen women describe as their #MeToo ‘assault’ (using air quotes) I find absolutely ridiculous. And a HUGE disservice to women who have actually been assaulted!”

But, of course, you can’t say that out loud.

And still another…

“I was in a situation similar — actually, arguably, a worse situation than what Ford described — and I did not view myself as a victim, I was proud of myself for navigating my way out of it. I walked away thinking, I handled that well,” she said.

But, of course, you can’t say that out loud.

Another said, “You know, I think this whole #MeToo Movement is going to ultimately put us back 50 years.”

She went on to relay a story of how she and her male counterparts had all gone to a conference with their male boss years ago. She said she remembered him telling some dirty story to all of them over cocktails one night. It was off-color but nothing she was really all that bothered by. She wondered in today’s climate if young women would even be invited to such a conference, or if they were, would they be included in the after-dinner drinks where, yes, bad situations can arise, but also where you can speak more freely and shine as an employee.

But, of course, you can’t say that out loud.

In the wake of any “movement,” I am sure there are always things that must be figured out once the dust settles. And I just hope that can be done before a fissure occurs between women who view this differently. Even if we have disagreements on some of these issues, we are all still better if we are in this together.

Maybe we should all say that out loud.