Sexual harassment: the hydra-headed issue of the year
One would think that in 2017 sexual harassment, assault and misconduct of women in the workplace would be a thing of the past. In the weeks since Actress Ashley Judd came out in a New York Times article accusing film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment, legions of other women like Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow Rose McGowan and most recently Lupita Nyong’o have stepped forward and recounted their horrific encounters with Weinstein. Some are accusing him of sexual harassment, assault and in the most extreme cases, rape.
Many women, who described Weinstein as a domineering, aggressive man, said that they were hesitant to come out in the past as he assumed a position as one of the most powerful men in Hollywood that had the power to either ignite or snuff out one’s career.
In light of the Weinstein scandal, Amazon Studio executive Roy Price also resigned from his position after a Hollywood Reporter article came out that he sexually harassed a producer – Isa Hackett – from one company’s shows titled “The Man in the High Castle.”
But Hollywood is not the only place where women and men are harassed in the workplace. Even among the halls of the country’s highest governmental institutions, this problem still persists. NBC’s Meet the Press said it approached every female senator to share their personal story of harassment. The program received responses from four political figures including Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in which they described that they were either propositioned or sexually harassed.
Aside from Congress, Wall Street seems to be going through its Harvey Weinstein problem. A Wall Street Journal article published Thursday, Oct. 12 reported that Gavin Baker, a high-level executive at Fidelity Investment, a large investment company, was fired amid allegations of sexual harassment allegations.
The culture with which the media covers sexual harassment has changed dramatically. Since the Access Hollywood tape of President Donald Trump came out last year, many have come forward with their own allegations against many men in power. The constant theme seems to be that there is power in numbers, and the recently Twitter trending hashtag #MeToo, created by Social activist and community organizer Tarana Burke, is providing a platform for many women and men across the United States and around the world to come out with their own tales of sexual harassment, and in some cases rape. Sexual harassment seems to be a hydra-headed issue where no matter how many times we seem to cut off its head, another seems to grow in its place.
Recent allegations have opened the floor up for a large debate about sexual harassment: What measures are we going to take as a society so that our children are not traumatized in environments like hollywood? At what level should we start educating society’s youth about the many shades of sexual harassment? Will sexual harassment training sessions be the fix that we so desperately need? At this point, only time will tell.