Harvey Weinstein has been called out as a sexual predator, rapist and all round horrible piece of shit. If we backtrack to a few weeks ago, The New York Times released a story that unleashed decades worth of harassments and settlements to women who were thrust into the orbit that was Harvey Weinstein. A dangerously powerful man, he has received more thanks in Oscar speech acceptances than any other human. He was known as the producer that could make or break any actress.
Things have escalated quickly since the floodgates opened, dozens of actresses bravely came forward and told their stories of being manipulated and coerced into uncomfortable and horrible situations at the hands of Weinstein. Women such as Rose McGowen, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Mira Sorvino, Rosanna Arquette, Ashley Judd, Cara Delevigne and so many more, chose to share the times that they were sexually harassed or assaulted by this man. We have heard countless stories like this before; men in Hollywood (or similar environments) are protected, because of their power and ability to manipulate, when committing sexual assault.
That being said, why has the Harvey Weinstein story, in particular, become such an obsession for me and many women and men? In the last few years, we have read hundreds of stories about Hollywood actors assaulting women, college footballers raping women on college campuses and sexual workplace harassment increasing. Is it because of who the victims were? The women who came forward can be viewed as ‘untouchable’. Often gracing the pages of Vogue and Marie Claire, something many of us will never experience. Do we now live in a world where assault and harassment has become so commonplace that it has taken an assault of dozens of famous women to shock us all. This breaking news story seems to have started the conversation that is long overdue. Perhaps it is due to Rose McGowen who has become a poster child for what feels like a necessary revolution amongst brave women and men. She has used social media to call out all the men and companies that turned their back on her when she was at her most fragile time.
This is the girl that was hurt by a monster. This is who you are shaming with your silence. pic.twitter.com/TrtRNiYfIT
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 8, 2017
This is the movie I was filming when it happened. I played a 16 year old. pic.twitter.com/EbsjH92Wde
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 17, 2017
Agents, managers, Directors, casting agents, producers, distributors, SAG, DGA, PGA, Studio heads, Network = 30 year cover up
— rose mcgowan (@rosemcgowan) October 7, 2017
Sadly, most of us can relate, having found ourselves in similar situations. This is why so many women have embraced the hashtag created by actress, Alyssa Milano. In one tweet she asked women and men to write ‘me too’ if they have ever been sexually harassed or assaulted.
If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet. pic.twitter.com/k2oeCiUf9n
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) October 15, 2017
I was groped 3 different times in public as a young girl and woman. Weinstein is just the ugly tip of big dirty iceberg. #MeToo
— Donna Biolsi (@DonnaBiolsi) October 18, 2017
Boy do I hate that as women we have to rip open and expose some of the most traumatic events of our lives to be seen as people but… #metoo
— Lee Newton (@leenewtonsays) October 18, 2017
#MeToo I'm still learning to accept that it wasn't my fault.
— Grace (@GElizabeth127) October 18, 2017
Since this post, which was LITERALLY TWO DAYS AGO. My social media pages have become flooded with “me too” posts. According to a Twitter spokesperson me too was Tweeted nearly half a million times in the first past 24 hours. People from all walks of life have bravely used the hash tag to show that they have been a victim of sexual harassment and assault. I myself “qualify” for the ‘me too’ hashtag club. Unfortunately, almost every woman has a story about sexual assault or harassment they can share. I wish I only had one story to share, but like many women there are countless stories ingrained in their memory. That being said, the women who are not yet ready to share the stories from their past. This is also okay. The choice is up to each woman and if she wants to share.
I remember the time I went back to your car. I was 17, scared and very inexperienced but you still let you friend into the car to watch. I was terrified, so I froze and lay there. I watched the clock tick by on the dashboard.
I will never forget the time that I was out at a bar, and was forced into a bathroom by a man I did not consent with. He wondered why I ignored his texts the next day, and told me to cheer up. He didn’t have to wait for HIV results like I did. I doubt he ever questioned why he had drank too much and why he invited himself into that bathroom. Because I know that he didn’t think that he had done anything wrong.
I remember every time a man asks to be come into my bed while I have sex with a woman. Because, why wouldn’t I want a man to show me the ropes? Each of these occasions have affected me as a woman, it is life altering, making the way you see the world that much different.
Women and men need to accept that there is a sexual harassment and assault epidemic. We should continue to have these discussions after Weinstein vanishes and a new person takes his place. While certain people in Hollywood continue to stay silent on this issue, we can push the industry into accepting their mistakes and to make the necessary changes going forward.
If you need someone to talk to please contact someone on the following
RASAC Rape and Sexual Abuse Support Centre: 0808 802 9999
Victim Support: 0845 3030 900
Survivors UK- Male Rape and Sexual Abuse Support: 0845 122 1201