You’ve probably heard all of the recent stories about Harvey Weinstein, the powerful Hollywood producer that been accused of sexual assault and harassment. Weinstein has been accused by multiple women including Mira Sorvino, Gwenyth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Rose McGowan. The latter used Twitter as a platform to tell her story. McGowan has accused Weinstein of rape. She reported it to the CEO of Amazon but nothing was done about it because he needed more “proof”. McGowan received $100,000 as a settlement deal. Her Twitter account was locked after her series of tweets. Twitter claims to have only locked her account because she used a private number.
Weinstein isn’t the only big Hollywood name who has been accused of sexual assault and harassment recently. Ben Affleck condemned Weinstein’s actions and was called out by McGowan for knowing about it the entire time. Affleck has also been accused of sexual harassment and assault. Multiple women have said that he grabbed their butts at the 2014 Golden Globes Party. Affleck was seen on camera groping Hilarie Burton’s breasts on MTV’s “TRL”. The head of Amazon Movie studios, Roy Price was suspended after being accused of sexually harassment by executive producer, Hackett Dick. Oliver Stone was accused of sexual harassment and assault by Patricia Arquette and Carrie Stevens. Terry Crews has also accused a producer of groping him at a party, bringing light to the fact that men are also victims of sexual harassment.
People often ask why victims wait so long to speak up. These stories are a perfect example. The ones who were accused are (or presumed to be) big names in Hollywood. People like Harvey Weinstein and Oliver Stone have the power to blackball an actress’s career in seconds. Imagine what accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment or assault could do to an actress. Who do you think people are more likely to side with? The well-known producer or the actress trying to get her foot in the door? Terry Crews couldn’t even defend himself because he feared that he would be stereotyped as just a big, violent black man. They used their power to take advantage of people.
These stories make me think of my experiences. I have dealt with sexual harassment and assault as I have discussed in a previous blog post. A lot of it happened in school, mainly from the football team. Football players would make lewd comments towards me and grope me. I didn’t think much of it because I never knew that it was wrong. I experience it on the streets as well. I continue to get catcalled, honked at, followed around. I’ve even been groped. It’s scary because you never know how far these men will go. I fear to make them angry because of the horror stories I’ve heard about other women. These men use their power and strength to intimidate women. Football players at my school not only used their power and strength but their popularity also. One of the reasons that I never reported being sexually assaulted is that I knew that people would side with the popular football player over someone like me. I feared that my reputation would be dragged through the mud.
In a way, I feel that society has normalized sexual assault and harassment. The fact that our president has bragged about sexual assault and been accused of it by multiple women doesn’t make it any better. There are many victims out there who are afraid to speak up because of how often we see victim blaming. It’s sickening to see society treat the victims as if they were the ones that were accused. I hope that these high-profile stories open up more discussions about sexual assault. Many of us sweep the subject under the rug even though it affects so many people. Sexual assault is a serious topic and it’s important that we educate ourselves on it.