Abigail Weiss, Story Editor
The news breaks almost every day: a new politician, celebrity or corporate executive is accused of sexual misconduct, like new episodes of a drama series with new heroes, antagonists, and battles. While it is harder for me to predict what will happen in the next episodes, there is a lot our generation can learn from the past ones. We, as the future leaders of these industries, need to work to make sure this behavior isn’t prevalent in our workforce.
The Pilot Episode: Harvey Weinstein
Scores of women, who have been accusing Weinstein for decades, were finally given a voice through the power of journalism. This was a major breakthrough because it established the pattern of abuse of power by a sexual assaulter. In Weinstein’s case, he had so much control over their future that he had the ability to do something utterly disgusting and traumatizing towards them. Not only did these women have to give up power in order to gain success, but also their identity, self-worth, and happiness as well. However, the pilot also depicted that it is possible to regain that lost power and use it to teach men who think they can do anything without limits that this is wrong.
Episode 2: Kevin Spacey and Same-Sex Harassment
Anthony Rapp, his first of many accusers, was fourteen when this incident happened. Many of his victims were young males which proves that the victim’s gender and age doesn’t make it any less of an assault. It was surprising to see Spacey making a public apology since that never happens in these cases. Yet, the rest his tweet was absolutely shameful. Having read about sexual assault cases that have been silenced, being drunk is such an overused excuse. And using the LGBT community as a shield was a poor and immoral attempt to victimize himself. If you’re accused of sexual misconduct, don’t try to portray yourself as a victim, no one’s going to pity you
Feature Length Episode: The Politicians (featuring Al Franken and Roy Moore)
The range of accusations has branched out into categories other than entertainment demonstrating that this issue is prevalent everywhere. The resignation of Franken and Moore’s failed campaign teaches victims that their voice has enough power to take down politics. Al Franken has done a lot for people and was always perceived as a great guy which brings up the question of how much allegations can change your reputation. I think it’s right that even though he was a good politician, he needs to learn his lesson and show other politicians that this isn’t acceptable behavior on any grounds.
The “Why Now?” Episode: Terry Crews
When people think of sexual assault victims, they most likely don’t think of a 6’3, 240 lb NFL linebacker. This why Crew’s case is the most important to me because like Spacey, anyone can be a victim. He didn’t physically retaliate against his attacker because his appearance would portray him as a dangerous man. His looks would also keep him from speaking out. No one would believe him. He would be seen as a coward. The best thing to do would be to remain silent in order to maintain his career.
Season Finale: Melanie Martinez
One of the most overlooked cases, but this one is revolutionary. This one taught that it is possible to be molested by your best friend and there is no definite situation when it comes to being assaulted. When people think of a women’s’ role in these cases they are most likely to be perceived as the victims, yet Melanie proved that females can be the perpetrators.
Many people don’t realize the prevalence of this issue because it doesn’t affect them personally. Last week, my mom asked her friends if they were ever abused in the workplace. Many of them said it was a daily occurrence. These women united together to teach others this is not acceptable while giving each other the courage to speak out. Sexual assault victims need to understand that they don’t deserve to feel disrespected and that people have their backs.
No one should get away with treating other people like this. The norm is to treat everyone with respect. However, this norm won’t be carried out if we just stand by and let this happen.