*All views expressed in the opinion section are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Salemite
In late October, women in the entertainment industry began to share their stories regarding sexual harassment and assault by Harvey Weinstein, well-known film mogul and producer.
Nearly 80 women shared these stories with the world, including high-profile actresses like Angelina Jolie and Ashley Judd, with many accounts starting and ending the same way; as an up-and-comer in the media industry, the woman in question was offered a meeting with Weinstein, who was always described as charming and amiable. Whether at the initial meeting or at a later one, he sometimes demanded that she give him a massage or vice versa, or she would find him unclothed, requesting that she shed what she was wearing as well.
When the women refused to comply, he claimed that “this is how the industry works”. These women often felt as though their careers would be ruined if they refused his advances, which is exactly what Weinstein and other powerful men in the entertainment industry want.
Powerful men have always had just that: power. Power over women, power over circumstances, power over ideas. Weinstein, like so many others, held the power of a successful career and job prospects over the heads of these women that he harassed and of whom he took advantage.
As a result of these allegations, women on social media began to report experiences with their very own Harvey Weinsteins using the hashtag #MeToo. They detailed the way they felt impossibly small after a sexual comment was made by their boss at their first job or felt tainted and dirty after a coworker put their hands on them at work. This movement allowed for unity among women everywhere, as a way to provide support and awareness.
For the first time, seemingly untouchable men are being held accountable for their actions. Kevin Spacey, after being accused of inappropriate conduct by actor Anthony Rapp at the age of 14, has been removed from his Netflix show “House of Cards”. Louis C.K., comedian, has had a movie release and comedy special cancelled after reports of exposing himself came from several different women. A list via the New York Times is updated daily; as of Nov. 17, nearly 30 men have been accused of sexual misconduct, with the names still rising.
It is important to note that these are only men with names that the common public knows. Thousands of men get away with harassing women in the workplace, on the street, in their own homes and in countless other scenarios.
Living with the consequences of male entitlement is painful and something every woman has experienced. The domino effect of the Weinstein allegations should help hold powerful men accountable for their actions once and for all. Women and men who have faced sexual harassment and assault deserve to be believed.