Words Are Not Going to End Sexual Assault

Allison De La Bastida

Is anyone actually doing anything about the sexual harassment that occurs every day? The media feeds us the news, and we run to Twitter to spit out the bad taste with sassy remarks on how it should stop. But no one has used this media spotlight to garner traction toward change. While the #metoo campaign is a monumental step forward on victims coming together and changing the narrative, its focus is to help those suffering. Yet, something needs to be constructed out of this mess to actually prevent people from suffering in the first place.

But the harsh truth is: it probably won’t happen. Hollywood simply doesn’t care. No one needs to know what happens between the sheets in order for a job to get done. One of the reasons Hollywood does not care might lie within the ruling gender in the city of starts — but hey, that’s just a guess. It all starts at the root of the tree, and the venom spreads up the bark and through all the branches until everything is contaminated. So, if well-known producers and actors  participate in sexual misconduct, younger actors who look up to them may perpetuate it further. We, sadly, follow by example. Even the lack of repercussions toward President Donald Trump in light of allegations of sexual misconduct has a repercussion of its own: it gives it the presidential stamp of approval that these actions are OK, as displayed by the “grab them by the pussy” signs on the 2016 campaign trail. Trump is not the first political actor to face these accusations — Former U.S President George H.W. Bush has experienced allegations of sexual misconduct as well. And we are still not taking action.

In order to protect the young actors, more regulations and practices need to arise in Hollywood. Since many are approached at a young age, it would be valuable for agents to have a mandatory sexual conduct lesson in which actors are taught not only that this behavior is inexcusable, but also how to escape the situation and speak up for themselves. While I understand it should not be up to the victims to fix the actions of the violators, if we do not educate and find ways to enforce safe behavior through stricter laws and other measures, we harm these actors by not taking preemptive measures for their safety. We can prosecute people who commit assault, we can rally behind changing the system, we can take steps to try and prevent these atrocities, but we will never get all of them. It’s impossible. And so we still must stay alert when walking down a sketchy alley or walking home at night. It isn’t fair that we’re left at the mercy of the actions of others. But it makes no sense to leave ourselves exposed because of a naive hope that monsters will change their ways.

So please, if we are going to discuss sexual misconduct in Hollywood, let us try and actively come up with a plan to stop it. Letting the cycle go forward is just as bad as committing the crime.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them. Email Allison De La Bastida at [email protected]



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