In the past month, men and women across America have opened up about sexual misconduct and assault in their day-to-day lives. Events like the Harvey Weinstein allegations and #MeToo have brought critical attention to how powerful people seem to get away with sexualizing or emotionally damaging individuals, simply because of their fame.
Sexual harassment and assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein blew up social media. Weinstein is an Academy Award-winning film director, creator of Miramax Films, and co-founder of The Weinstein Company, alongside his own brother. Many women including Ashley Judd, Angelina Jolie, and Gwyneth Paltrow, have reported Weinstein for sexual misconduct. In total, there are 78 cases against him. Although Weinstein denies any claims of non-consensual sex, the women continue to share their stories. The New York Times first published an article exposing his actions to the public. Weinstein was later fired from his own company, as the company attempted to avoid public interrogation.
After the Harvey Weinstein allegations, celebrities have opened up about their stories of sexual harassment and abuse. Men like James Toback, Ben Affleck, George W Bush, Chris Savino, Roy Price, Lockhart Steele, John Besh, and Mark Halperin have allegations against them. Collectively, these men have nearly 250 reports.
“When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything,” said Donald Trump in 2005. Despite having bragged about sexual assault, Trump was elected President of the United States. Roy Moore, a Republican politician, had supposedly had a romantic relationship with 14-year-old Leigh Corfman, back in 1979. Roy Moore is currently running for a Senate seat in Alabama and refuses to drop his campaign. These are just two examples of dominant men dismissing illegal and unacceptable behavior.
All of the events have brought significant attention to these important problems. Sexual misconduct has been a taboo word, and with role models like Ashley Judd or Gwyneth Paltrow telling their stories, many women around the country have felt encouraged to tell their own stories of sexual misconduct. The #MeToo Campaign has gone viral on social media, where people can choose to leave the hashtag in the comment section of a post, or go as far as sharing their stories with the media to spread awareness for the cause.
“My initial response [to #MeToo] was that it was surprising that so many actors that I had watched when I was younger had gone through these traumatic events,” said freshman, Evie Garces-Foley. “It was just very shocking to me.”
“I think these [celebrities] should be seen as role models. It’s important, to tell the truth, and bring up bad things because it is only then when you can make a difference and stop further things like it from happening,” said freshman Sofie Edwards. “It is important to speak up about harder topics and these women were very brave by telling their story and putting out there.”