It’s hard to believe that it’s only been about 5 weeks since Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein was ousted from his own company because of multiple allegations of sexual assault.
Since then we’ve seen a tidal wave of allegations from both women and men about not just other Hollywood producers, directors, and actors, but businessmen in other industries, venture capitalists, politicians, clergy, and men in just about every walk of life. The list includes people of all ages, races, religions, and sexual orientations.
In some cases, the abuse happened decades ago. In others, it’s been ongoing for long periods of time. Why are so many of these people coming forward now?
Perhaps because it appears we are ready to shine a light on this behavior. Until this year, the likely response to these allegations was to blame the victim–they either were making this up, or somehow they had caused the situation to occur. But now enough people are speaking up about so many different situations that as a society, we can no longer pretend this is not a problem and we can’t continue to shun those who were hurt.
Outing the abusers is a step forward. But we won’t fix the problem till we start educating our children at a young age that they have the right to say no and they must respect the rights of other to say no. We need to insist that they immediately tell us about those who won’t take no for an answer, and that they will not be blamed for coming forward.
Only when we prove we have zero tolerance for this behavior will we start to heal the epidemic of abuse once and for all.
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