The curtain in Hollywood has come crashing to the floor, but instead of finding an old man operating a machine in the Land of Oz, what has come to light is a large and comprehensive network of sexual assault. While in the past, abusers found safety in their names and their power, the initial takedown of Harvey Weinstein, one of the most powerful names in the industry, has shown no person can be protected anymore. This Hollywood cleaning house — while truly disgusting to witness — is a necessary and good thing. However, the film industry is not the only one that has skeletons in its closet.
Sexual assault and harassment are not unique issues that apply only to Hollywood. Sexual assault stems from the abuse of power one holds over another. Victims often feel as though they can do nothing during or after these incidents. But since victims are finally coming forward, this could lead to the same happening in many other worlds of business. Places like the technology industry in Silicon Valley have had many issues in the past, but have escaped essentially unmarred for the most part. This should not be the case.
The massive problem with sexual assault within the tech world is slowly coming to light, and after Hollywood, perhaps victims no longer feel pressure to keep quiet. The same can be said the for the music industry, which could quite possibly have just as much controversy. Mariah Carey’s sexual harassment of her security guard could very well be the first domino to fall. The unfortunate truth is that sexual assault in the workplace is not unique to one specific group of people or one type of business. It is much larger than that, and while there can never be true justice for its victims, the truth finally coming out can be a start.
As people once deemed near infallible like Louis C.K. and Kevin Spacey fall from their pillars amid their horrifying pasts, there are no figures that can be protected from their comeuppance anymore. In the same light, as an industry with as much adoration and popularity as the film industry being tarnished with the truth, there is no safety for any others where sexual assault is prevalent. Those who spoke out in Hollywood have shown that the world will no longer blame the victim and silence those who simply want the truth to come out. While it is unfortunate that this culture is only right now changing to allow a space for victims to come forward, it is necessary. It has been a long time coming, but sexual abusers will no longer be tolerated, and we are about to witness the results.
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A version of this appeared in the Monday, Nov. 13 print edition. Email Thomas Price at [email protected]