This past week has been an explosion of sexual assault and abuse allegations against big-named Hollywood producer, Harvey Weinstein. The story came to the surface due to a New York Times investigation. Dozens of A-list actresses have come out stated that they were abused by this movie producer. This disclosure sparked many in the public eye to come forward and speak out against sexual assault in Hollywood. Now that the idols we glamorize on television and film are talking about it, it is time we all talk about a major issue in our country - sexual abuse towards women.
Hollywood Sexual Assault
The Weinstein situation has shown many that even in the most luxurious and glamorized lives of the rich and famous, discrimination and abuse among women is a major problem in the industry. The position that many of the victims were put in was essentially a dark hole of guilt and shame. If they spoke out, their careers would be gridlocked and would be viewed in the public eye as someone trying to create controversy. These women were forced to sit in silence while this man continued to take advantage of women in the film industry.
The Everyday Woman
One in every six women in the United States has been a victim of sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. This situation is not just happening in Hollywood, it is happening right now, in every state, in every town across the country. Women are also still facing the issue of the “they were asking for it” claim. With so many social and legal hurdles in sexual assault, abuse, and rape, where do we go from here to drastically improve the culture in which it will respect the intensity of sexual assault as it does other polarizing issues?
Awareness, education, and speaking out are all important factors in bringing this topic to the forefront of national conversation. There must be a shift in not only our culture but the way we handle reporting sexual assault and hold the attacker responsible, not the victim.
The Weinstein and Cosby scenarios have moved the spotlight on this issue and because of this, the time to initiate change is now. From creating open dialogue even down to voting and electing individuals who also speak out against sexual assault against women and will continue to push for stronger protections of women against rape.