Sexual harassment is a subject that is very difficult to discuss because not only do people take it as a joke, but it’s actually a very personal subject to speak about. Lately, Hollywood has seen a dramatic increase in sexual harassment allegations, resulting in many prominent figures resigning from their jobs or even getting fired.
Sexual harassment can happen anywhere, and in Hollywood it happens a lot. New York Times stated that after Weinstein’s case, the fallout of 34 men followed, ranging in sexual misconduct accusations, from lewd texts to rape. Weinstein’s scandal allowed others who were victims be heard. As a woman trying to be in the film industry, it’s already extremely difficult, but the fact that men try to take advantage of us also adds a terrifying element.
Actress Heather Graham states, “I think sexism is in our culture, in general, but in my experience as an actress there’s a lot of sexual [harassment].” According to Hollywood Reporter, Graham worked with Weinstein, but she didn’t clearly state if she was a victim. These sexual allegations have encouraged even more women to come forward and address how pervasive this issue is. According to The Washington Post, Cathy Schulman, president of Women in Film, an industry trade group, is launching a sexual harassment help line as well as legal-aid service for those experiencing such behavior in the industry. According to USAToday, “[The] Harvey Weinstein scandal has led to tens of thousands of French women posting the name of their sexual harasser on Twitter, along with details of the incident, under the hashtag ‘Squeal on Your Pig.’”
According to the Huffington Post, someone is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. That means that every day, there are about 570 people experiencing sexual violence in this country. Sexual harassment is a serious issue that needs to be addressed and hasn’t been because many people don’t take it seriously, which discredits many women all over the world. Sexual harassment includes whistling, touching or grabbing without consent, lewd and threatening letters, stalking, pressing or rubbing against the victim, and the list goes on.
According to feminst.org, sexual harassment affects a woman's physical and mental health as well as their social and economic issues. Sexual harassment has been and continues to be a social issue. I want to live in a world where sexual harassment decreases and men learn to respect women, but it seems like it just keeps increasing. Even with all the recent news, it’s still not capturing as much attention as it should. With the explosion of Weinstein’s case, people are finally coming out and explaining situations they’ve experienced in the entertainment world.
As a director, I’m scared for the day I’ll experience sexual harassment, and that's something I shouldn't have to worry about. Just being a woman, I have experienced sexual harassment. As a young girl, I’m taught to keep my mouth shut no matter what, but when it comes to invading my personal space, I do speak up because it’s not fair to let someone get away with it. From my personal experience with sexual harassment and assault, I truly believe it does mess with your head because even today I freak out when a guy gets too close to me. Being alone with guy who I don’t feel 100% comfortable with is nerve-wracking. This has interfered with my relationships because now I feel it’s really hard for me to get comfortable with a guy.
Ultimately, the most important thing we can do following sexual harassment or assault experience is to SPEAK UP! This will spread awareness and encourage other victims to do the same. If we start a movement, we can create pressure on the entertainment industry to never tolerate this kind of behavior.