For anyone who’s checked social media or read the news in the past few weeks, the sexual assault, harassment, and rape allegations being made by dozens of actresses against top Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein would’ve been nearly impossible to avoid hearing about. Shocking and horrific to say the least, actors, actresses, assistants, and other individuals in the movie-making industry have come forward since the first week of October 2017 to fight sexual harassment with personal stories of Weinstein’s inappropriate touches and behaviors, his threats about ending actresses’ careers if they resisted his advances, and in several reported cases, by actresses like Rose McGowan and the Weinstein Company’s female crew members, his repeated sexual assault and rape of women.
In the current political, cultural, and socioeconomic climate since our last election, women everywhere have banded together to demand gender equality, reproductive rights, civil rights, LGBTQIA rights, and to fight individuals like Harvey Weinstein who wield their power in abusive, domineering and harassing ways for personal gain. This latest report is disturbing and disheartening, but that it has finally been revealed after nearly three decades means that our culture and the Hollywood industry can now make vital changes within its ranks. It’s important for consumers to be aware of these allegations so that they can make informed decisions about where to spend their money and which movies to support. Harvey Weinstein may have been fired from his own company (as of October 8th, 2017), but as the New York Times and New Yorker both reported in their illuminating articles earlier this month, many individuals within the Weinstein Company and the industry allegedly knew about Weinstein’s behavior for decades prior, yet he remained employed and powerful.
The Allegations Made Against Harvey Weinstein
On October 5th, 2017, the New York Times published Jodi Kantor’s and Megan Twohey’s exposé on Harvey Weinstein’s decades of reported abuse and settlements to keep victims quiet. Detailing accounts from prior assistants, models, actresses, and company employees, Weinstein’s history of asking women to his hotel rooms, stripping down in front of them, initiating unwanted sexual advances, and ignoring their demands to stop goes on for pages and pages, and has emerged from women in dozens of cities and countries. Actresses including Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie have shared chilling statements about their own experiences with the producer, with other women like Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette stating that their rebuffs of Weinstein’s advances severely hindered their careers.
How to Fight Sexual Harassment and Assault
Aside from being mindful about which movies and television shows to support based on their production companies (the Weinstein Company’s various film and book divisions are listed here), there are ways to fight sexual harassment and assault in our culture.
1. Communication is Key
If you witness and/or experience sexual harassment, tell someone about it immediately, be it your supervisor, a coworker, upper management and/or someone in a position of power who you can trust. As actress and rape survivor Evan Rachel Wood detailed in this video released October 11, 2017, a victim of sexual harassment and/or assault doesn’t necessarily have to press charges, but they must spread the word to protect others and so that individuals can make informed decisions on working with perpetrators in the future.
2. Educate Your Loved Ones
Talk to your children about sexual harassment and how to identify and address it. Talk to the men in your life about the harassment and/or abuse you’ve experienced, so that they can better comprehend the struggle all women face and stand up for them in the face of adversity. Get involved in schools, churches, extracurricular activities and around the community to spread the word about these issues and provide resources locally and globally.
3. Support Causes That Have Made it Their Mission to Fight Sexual Harassment
There are various organizations that offer support, resources, and services to the survivors of sexual abuse and victims of sexual harassment. Some of them include:
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