Entertainment news headlines across all media sources has been discussing the controversial sexual harassment crimes of Harvey Weinstein, one of the co-creators of Miramax and The Weinstein Company. His works as an executive producer range from classics such as Pulp Fiction to the Scream series, making him one of the most influential people in Hollywood. However, Weinstein's success becomes irrelevant due the decades of sexual harassment that has been uncovered over the past couple of weeks.
Recently, many women have come out and exposed Harvey Weinstein on their experience of sexual assault. Reasoning behind these sudden experiences being released compared to the past mostly deals with Weinstein's access to power in the Hollywood industry. Many women say that they wanted help for their careers or were paid off by Weinstein to keep silent about the issue. But many Hollywood big name stars, such as Gwyeneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, and Cara Delevingne have come out with their encounters with Weinstein's harassment behavior and the number of women releasing their own stories involving Weinstein has increased over the past two weeks. Even men like Terry Crews, a man known for his strong and intimidating physique, had been groped in the pelvic region by another man, who Crews states as a Hollywood executive. This is just a singular case that can show that sexual harassment can happen to anyone, anywhere.
These strong acts of courage on speaking up in cases of sexual harassment has escalated on social media with #MeToo. Countless posts and stories on social media have brought light to victims of all genders, races, cultures, ethnicities and their experiences of sexual assault and harassment within all aspects of their lives; from on the street to in the workplace. These posts give inspiration to others who have experienced sexual assault and how there is no fault in the victim. The result is an overflowing system of support to victims as well as exposure to how sexual harassment has become such a huge part of mainstream culture.
The hashtag coming out of Harvey Weinstein's harassment exposure shouldn't be completely deemed a good thing. There is a dark history and meaning behind the social media tag that remains to be an issue globally. Adults and children of all ages and genders are being sexually harassed each and every day. From a study conducted by Cosmopolitan, more than 1 of 3 women are sexually harassed in the workplace. And out of that one-third of women, more than 79% did not report it to either their supervisors or higher up.
One of the defining factors of why these instances go under the radar and are left unreported is the victims fear and shame. The hashtag has brought out courage in victims who are afraid of being alone. It brings to light the concealed act of sexual harassment and how much it is taboo to talk about in society and social media. But in order it to stop, action needs to be taken. And becoming more aware of the frequency of these actions is the first step in order for this kind of behavior to cease.
So, on my own behalf, I would like to applaud the strong people who have openly expressed their experiences; whether on social media, to a friend, family member, co-worker, supervisor, boss, police or authorities. These people in their own right are heroes to others who are afraid to speak out. People who experienced sexual assault are not victims, they are survivors. Speaking out on an experience, or even experiences, requires pure strength. They should be dignified with the respect that they deserve for speaking up and standing up for themselves, as well as the others.