Viewpoint: What has to change for sexual assault victims to break the silence?

By Arielle Brumfield on October 24, 2017

Hollywood is one of the most influential parts of American culture. At the center of the entertainment business, film and television are two of the most profitable entities of our society. Actors and actresses boldly embodying characters and deliver the stories of others, creating powerful messages and inspiration.

While many of these stars have a voice when working alongside notable directors and producers, these same stars fall silent when it comes to speaking up and out when they are forced to compromise their morals and integrity by someone who should be helping them propel in their careers.

After the recent exposure of American film producer and Miramax co-founder Harvey Weinstein’s vile sexual misconduct, many celebrities have come forward, alleging either mistreatment or foreknowledge of Weinstein’s inappropriate behavior.

Acclaimed film director Quentin Tarantino told The New York Times, “ I knew enough to do more than what I did.”

Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o recounted being invited to the home of Weinstein where he asked her to give him a private massage in the bedroom, and later began to undress himself, but decided not to come forward until after many other women released statements.

Disgraced Hollywood producer and executive Harvey Weinstein

It is terrible that these women and men have experienced this unprofessional and lewd behavior while trying to break down barriers in entertainment.

The true question is what “normative” behaviors are we perpetuating as a society that make these women and men afraid to speak out when they are being manipulated, taken advantage of and often times forced to compromise their morals?

As we are constantly nuturing a new generation actors, directors and producers, we need to breakdown the misogynistic and patriarchal barriers that refrain people from speaking out due to the fear of backlash.

“More than anything, there needs to be a safe medium for people to not be silent without risks. ‘Her’ struggle is everyone’s struggle, and at the end of the day the system of hegemony is allowing people of power to manipulate the people who have none,” said Stevie Johnson, a junior Film and Television Production major at Loyola Marymount University.

“I’m not doing okay, but I’m trying. I’ve got to get help, we all make mistakes. Second chance, I hope,” said Weinstein.

As of now there are reports that Weinstein is seeking rehab in Arizona. What his legacy is remains to be seen.

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