World Finally Confronts Sexual Harassment

Nevaeh Valtierra, Feature's Editor

Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted.

One out of every six American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. About every one out of 33 American men has experienced an attempted or completed rape in his lifetime. Doesn’t it frighten you that sexual assault is not rare? The fact that it’s common should.

The thing about sexual assault is that is has always existed, but now it’s being talked about. Sexual assault is being exposed in Hollywood, politics, the military, and many other industries. Well-known cases right now are the allegations being made against Roy Moore and Harvey Weinstein. Men have been taking advantage of their authority by victimizing innocent people for centuries. But recently, women and men have been gaining courage by telling their stories and are inspiring others to come out too.

Women who work in U.S. national security wrote an open letter calling on those in power to help combat sexual harassment and assault in the workplace. Two hundred twenty-three women who serve and served in the military, diplomatic positions, and development organizations signed the letter. The letter asks authority in national security to reduce the incidences of sexual harassment and abuse in the the workplace. How sad is it that women have to write a letter and ask for that. Shouldn’t being in any environment of work just automatically provide safety from sexual harassment and abuse?
Terry Crews, an actor, said back in 2016 that talent agent Adam Venit groped him at a party and continually stuck out his tongue to him in a sexual manner. Venit returned to work after a one-month, no-paid suspension. He also didn’t return to his usual position. But the fact that he returned at all is so troubling to think about. Crews must have thought so too, because later he tweeted, “SOMEONE GOT A PASS.” Which is accurate. If going back to work without any real consequences is what happens to Hollywood agents after they sexually assault someone then no wonder it keeps happening!

Dozens of women came forth accusing Weinstein of rape, exposing himself and unwelcome touching. Weinstein would expect actresses to perform sexual favors in order to be in his films. He would show parts of his body to many women who did not want to see. Actress Ashley Judd was one of the first to make allegations against him. Dozens of others followed including, Angelina Jolie, Paz de la Huerta, and Cara Delevingne. The allegations also sparked a hashtag #metoo. Victims have been sharing their stories on social media with the hashtag. I feel for all of these women. I am extremely proud to see that so many are speaking out and exposing monsters like Weinstein for who they really are. Weinstein was fired and his wife left him, but jail time seems more like justice.

It’s time for workplaces to reevaluate their sexual misconduct policies. It’s time for predators to get consequences, just as any other criminal. They should also receive help. I believe in this current culture change. I believe that when someone comes out and tells their story that we should believe them. Too often people go unheard or remain silent due to the fear of no one caring. It’s time to show these victims of sexual assault that we do. This exposure is rough and uncomfortable for victims, but it’s also a time for unity. These allegations are not beautiful but they’re inspiring other people to tell their stories. Giving other victims the strength to turn into survivors rather than a victim with no justice. Their voices are essential. No more victim shaming or blaming. Let’s go for more belief, trust, and unity.