Victims are silent no more

Melyna Acosta, Staff Writer

Don’t walk alone at night. Don’t look them in the eye. Don’t wear anything revealing. It’s as if society has made this a norm: don’t provoke. They’ll ask “well what did you expect?” as if it’s unfathomable to expect respect from another human being – no matter who you are, what you are doing, or what you are wearing.
Hollywood has created an epidemic of women being portrayed as nothing more than provocative, only further pushing the idea that men have the ability to control them.

It has been set clear that claims of sexual harassment can be deemed as untrue, especially when they’re directed at those in power, like film producer and executive, Harvey Weinstein.

Yolanda Moses, a professor of anthropology at University of California, Riverside and a sexual harassment/assault consultant, told LiveScience “society tends to blame the victim – female victims, in particular – for what happens to them.”
“In several recent rape cases, for example, the victim was accused of ‘ruining’ the man who committed the assault,” Moses said.

This exact reason is why so many women were silenced for decades in the Weinstein cases.

Rose McGowan, an American actress most known for her role in the supernatural series “Charmed,” was criticized for months by an industry that refused to believe she was being subjected to an act of sexual violence at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997. She spoke out and continues to encourage women to do the same.

Weinstein, according to his accusers, had been abusing women under the presumptions that their silence could be paid off, or that they would be quiet about the painful incidents. McGowan, much like the other women who shared their stories, was a rare voice in a time when not speaking out almost felt safer.

It is vital to point out that, although some incidents often end with no justice, there are a few that do. On Aug. 14, Taylor Swift fought and won her court case against a local Denver radio personality who had sexually assaulted her about four years ago. Following the outcome, Swift made a statement thanking her lawyers, “for fighting for me and anyone who feels silenced by sexual assault.”

Using their large platforms, celebrities like McGowan are able to create an uprise of fighting against sexual violence and address the fear felt by those who wish to speak out. Teaching people to not rape, versus teaching people to not get raped seems like such an obvious lesson, but society has been programmed to become numb to harassment and that must change first.

McGowan spoke out at the Inaugural Women’s Convention on Friday, Oct.27, stating “I have been silenced for 20 years. I have been slut-shamed, I have been harassed, I have been maligned, and you know what? I am just like you. What happened to me behind the scenes happens to all of us in this society. It cannot stand and will not stand.”