It started with The New York Times. Actress Ashley Judd told the story of an encounter that happened more than two decades ago with film producer Harvey Weinstein, when she was in the midst of filming 1997’s “Kiss the Girls.”
Judd told the Times that she went to the Peninsula Beverly Hills hotel for a business breakfast meeting with Weinstein, but once there, a bathrobe-clad Weinstein asked if he could give her a massage, or if she could watch him shower. Her account to the Times was confirmed to CNN by her publicist.
Judd went on say: “Women have been talking about Harvey amongst ourselves for a long time, and it’s simply beyond time to have the conversation publicly.”
Currently there is now 40 accusations of sexual harassment against Weinstein, with some cases including assault, according to CNN.
This incident reminds me a lot of the Bill Cosby sexual assault allegations back in 2014 when out of nowhere, more than 50 women started speaking out about his sexual harassment. I remember thinking: “This is the last person I’d ever think who would do such a thing.” But he did.
It just takes one person to stand up for herself or himself for others to feel inclined to stand up as well.
It takes an immense amount of courage and strength to be vulnerable enough to say: “This happened to me, and it’s not OK.”
What I take away from this instance is that this is not just something in Hollywood. This is globally prevalent. This sort of abuse is seen in the workplace, where both men and women are taken advantage of by people who may be above them. I’m lucky enough to say this sort of occurrence has never happened to me, so I don’t know what it’s like to be in those shoes.
However, I’ve had several friends that have been sexually assaulted or sexually harassed, and it pains me to say this is not uncommon.
I understand that many people who have endured sexual harassment have questioned themselves. They sometimes start to think they did something wrong. However, if you feel uncomfortable, then don’t victimize yourself. People ask victim blaming questions, such as “Were you drinking?” and “How were you dressed?”
Maybe that’s why people stay quiet. They know to some extent that fingers may be pointed at them. However, with the support from several other celebrities supporting women, I’m glad to see people in Hollywood use their voices to speak up. I hope it inspires men, women, boys and girls to all speak up too.
Email at Kavita Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org