News recently broke out about Hollywood Executive Harvey Weinstein and the sexual harassment scandal tracing back thirty years. Weinstein was known as an icon and powerhouse. He was someone that you needed to know to get to the top in Hollywood. He was connected in entertainment and in politics, working with the Obamas and the Clintons. Malia Obama even had an internship at the Weinstein company before she started college this fall. The news about Weinstein shocked many, while others weren’t so surprised. There was a very long history of sexual assault and harassment that had gone virtually unnoticed. The people that knew of his actions kept a hushed mouth afraid of losing their careers while others were unaware of the thirty-year allegations. Women like Angelina Jolie and Rose Mcgowan were apart of the list of the survivors. The news on Weinstein shook Hollywood and had many A-listers denounce the former executive including Meryl Streep and much more. This story isn’t anything new. Hollywood has had a long history of assault that has gone relatively unknown from Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, and many others (some we know about and others we find out about). I think it’s admirable that people are speaking up about and against sexual harassment. Seeing people like Terry Crews open up about their experience and condemning this is a step in the right direction. It is also a good step seeing Weinstein being fired from his company and him getting kicked out from the academy.
But what about the others like Roman Polanski and Cosby who haven’t been stripped of their titles? Although men like Cosby have been shamed and looked as the outcasts of the industry, they still have certain titles that haven’t been removed yet and other men still retain their status and careers in the industry with little to no backlash. This doesn’t only happen in Hollywood but in corporate and academic settings as well. Often times we see that abusers with authority (because women can be abusers as well) often get a slap on the wrist while victims get ostracized and exiled from these settings. People are told that if they press charges or go to HR, their claims will be unheard and these people can easily make these allegations go away. Whenever you ask why people waited so long, think about that and how you would react in this position.
We need to set new standards about how we deal with sexual assault. Too many men have gotten away with this and our society shows us that we don’t have respect for our victims. Just look at our president! The 45th President of the U.S. ("He Who Shall Not Be Named" ) has a long history of sexual assault and harassment that was uncovered during the election, yet the American people let that go in order to “Make America Great Again." If that doesn’t show you how we treat our victims, I don’t know what will. Instead of punishing victims and survivors, we need to start punishing the abusers. We also need to be more open about sexual assault and have a safe and comfortable platform where people can talk and express their feelings.
It makes me very happy that Weinstein is finally being ostracized for thirty years of sexual harassment. This is only the beginning. But when will this be the norm? I hope that the rate of sexual harassment gets significantly lower in the future!