Photo illustration by Alexander Bissell / Cuestonian
By Holly Walsh
A domino effect of celebrities, politicians, and other men in power that have been accused of sexual assault over the past couple of weeks was prompted by the sexual assault allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Piven, Oliver Stone and more, are all powerful men in Hollywood that now have sexual assault accusations against them.
It is expected that more accusations will continue to outpour over the next few months as the severity of how pervasive sexual assault is in our society is finally brought to light.
Since Weinstein, many actors have found their voice and come forward to share multiple accounts of being sexually assaulted in Hollywood, and are still continuing to share their stories.
New accounts of sexual assault or harassment from both women and men are released every day, which confirms the devastatingly harsh reality that all people from all walks of life have been enduring sexual abuse at the hands of men for years.
In addition to top named actresses coming forward to share their experiences regarding assault, many men have also stepped forward sharing their horrors with sexual abuse in Hollywood. Abuse happens to both genders and both genders felt the pressure to keep quiet after experiencing their traumas.
Being sexually assaulted/harassed is not apart of any job description when working for anybody in power, and being in power does not mean you have a right to sexually violate another person in any matter.
Many people are forgetting the importance of interrogating the suspect and not the victims in all cases of sexual related abuse. Campaigns against rape culture generally focus on violence against women, since women are vastly the majority of rape victims, but more men are coming forward to share their experiences with sexual assault.
How do we get rid of the stigma that sexaul abuse only happens to women and teach that men are also victims of assault? Instead of teaching women all of the various ways that they can avoid being raped, would it not be more effective to teach men not to rape?
Campaigns began with warnings on how women should protect themselves from rape and sexual assault but are slowly shifting and developing into the mindset that the problem is men, how do we get men to stop conducting sexual assault.
In a situation where a woman was raped 98 percent of the time the perpetrator was male. In a situation where a man was raped, 93 percent of the time the perpetrator was also male.
We should not have to live in a world where rape is expected and the best we can do for one another is hope that the person being victimized learns the “skills” to avoid it.
The pressure to keep quiet after being sexually assaulted goes well beyond the realm of just Hollywood and celebrities. Sexual abuse happens to anyone anytime, there is an unspoken pressure to stay quiet after experiencing sexual trauma, either from humiliation, self-blame, or fear.
From a young age we are taught as girls to look out for one another and stick together, to be cautious of how much you drink at a party, and to dress wholesomely, all in hopes of avoiding rape. Teaching a woman to avoid getting raped creates a culture where if rape occurs it must be the victims fault for not taking precautions.
Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault under any circumstance and assuring that the victim understands this should be a top priority.
After the Weinstein allegations the “Me Too” hashtag broke out via twitter, which is a campaign to confirm the devastating and largely unspoken truth, that nearly every woman on Earth has been a victim of sexual assault or harassment in their lifetime.
How could we as a society get to a point where sexual assault has become such a casual occurrence that nearly every single woman, and even a large minority of men, have suffered from it?
In the wake of multiple sexual assault allegations against celebrities, politicians, and all other men in power, we can only hope that these events will shed some light on the severity of rape culture.