This week the news has been focused on the allegations against Hollywood bigshot Harvey Weinstein, with scores of women coming forward to state that he has sexually assaulted, or in some cases, raped them. While the sheer amount of women coming forward is shocking, what was more so was the reaction of people around the world shaming the victims.
There was a variety of reasons why these women were set upon, claims that they had ‘waited too long’, that they were ‘asking for it’ or wanting attention. Some questioned whether these women were telling the truth. There was something missing, however, the trauma these women will have gone through and the outrage at Weinstein.
The fact that, yet again, women speaking out have come under fire when they have faced assault, to me, shows why we need feminism still in modern society. Rather than believe that these women have encountered a sexual predator. Their stories match up again and again. A young actress invited to a meeting about their career by a powerful man at a hotel, lead to his room where he attempted to get sexual favours or assaulted them.
With names such as Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckinsale, Cara Delevigne and Gwyneth Paltrow all speaking about their own encounters we should be celebrating them for speaking out. Assault is incredibly difficult for a person to overcome and as these women speak out, and many more as the days pass, we shouldn’t be shaming them.
Unfortunately, we may never know the extent of this. This was a blatant act of using power to cause fear in young women. Knowing he was an incredibly successful figure, Weinstein, appeared to see himself as untouchable and able to treat these young women as he liked. At the time of writing, he is not working and has checked into a rehab centre. I’m hoping that in the coming weeks a police investigation will take things further.
If this case highlighted anything at all it’s that we need to think about the way we treat victims when they speak out. Instead of instantly questioning and trying to guess if they are guilty or not or if they ‘just want attention’. To imagine what they have gone through and the courage it must take to go to the police. We need to stand with victims of assault, and not to forget men can be victims too, and show them that they can speak out without fear or judgement.