Sexual Assault: Current Events

By Kyle Beck, Trending Writer

Starting on October 5th, when a New York Times article accused Harvey Weinstein of sexually assaulting dozens of women, the past month has seen an unprecedented wave of stories detailing famous, powerful men committing acts of inappropriate sexual advances, harassment, sexual assault, and rape. Some of the accused include actor Kevin Spacey and Roy Price, the now-former head of Amazon Studios. Even former president George H.W. Bush has faced allegations. However, many of today’s breaking stories took place years ago, which begs the question: why have the victims stayed silent for so long?

Per a timeline of events published by IndieWire, 52 different women have accused Weinstein of allegations. They range from unwanted advances to the case of Lucia Evans, who claims he “overpowered” her and “forced her to give him oral sex” when she met him to discuss auditioning for a television show. The timeline stretches from 1980 all the way to 2015. Weinstein lost his job and his marriage, and will likely face a number of criminal charges and/or civil lawsuits.

In the wake of these allegations, other Hollywood stars have come under fire as well. Anthony Rapp, an actor who worked with Kevin Spacey (of House of Cards fame) in 1986, stated that Spacey “approached him in the bedroom at a house party and ‘picked him up like a groom picks up a bride’ and put him on the bed”, per CNN. Rapp was 14 at the time, and Spacey was 26. After that, eight House of Cards employees, who chose to remain anonymous, told CNN that Spacey created a “toxic work environment” with his inappropriate touching and comments towards young men on set. Spacey, beyond public scorning, does not currently face charges or lawsuits. Notably, Spacey vaguely apologized to Rapp in a statement focused more on his coming out as a gay man. This sparked outrage from the media, Hollywood, and perhaps most significantly, the LGBT community.

What these victims have been through is horrible, and sexual harassment and violence does not only occur in Hollywood. In this regard, it is great that the victims bravely came forward, as the high-profile cases raise awareness of the issues at hand. For the victims, though, reporting what happened is not a simple task. One young man assaulted by Spacey, for example, did not report being groped against his will because Spacey was “a very powerful man on the set, and [the victim] was very low on the totem pole”, fearing for his job and for his safety. Victims of sexual violence everywhere face these fears, but the bravery shown by the men and women calling out their famous assaulters this month can inspire victims the world over to follow suit.

 

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 7th print edition.

Contact Kyle at

kyle.beck1@student.shu.edu

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