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#metoo Speaks Volumes

Sexual Harassment Uncovered

Credit: Rolling Stone

Credit: Rolling Stone

Credit: Rolling Stone

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Harvey Weinstein is a household name these days. USA TODAY reports that more than eighty women have come forward alleging sexual misconduct by film mogul. The story has been front page news for the past month. Actresses that worked for Harvey have shared their stories of abuse of power. Some actresses were threatened with the end of their careers if they did not perform whatever sexual act he wanted from them. His abuse of power made his victims feel vulnerable and used. These women were ashamed for years to come forward, but finally they chose to break their silence. When people started sharing their stories, it helped others to feel comfortable to share their experiences. This brings up the question about “Why are we so afraid to talk about sexual harassment?”

Harvey Weinstein is a national story about an everyday problem, but many people experience sexual harassment in their daily lives. Rosalie Mitchell, a student at Clackamas High School, is just one victim of many. Rosalie said, “This one guy kept asking me to sleep with him. He kept calling me his shorty and slim thick, whatever that means. It made me really uncomfortable, and I wanted it to stop.” Rosalie isn’t the only one experiencing this behavior, many others fall under the category of victims when it comes to this.

Kelli Shurtliff,  Associate Director of the North Clackamas School District’s Human Resources Department says the issue is important, especially now. ”Absolutely, even one incident of it is serious. The fact that it happens at least that often anywhere, makes it a big deal.” Sexual harassment happens everywhere and most people don’t know how to deal with it when it happens to them.

So, why are we so afraid to talk about sexual harassment, when we talk about other forms of human persecution like bullying, cyber bullying, racism, sexism, homophobia, classism etc? Why is sexual harassment not on that list of topics that seem to come up very often? The stigma needs to be broken and not just to mend the minds of the victims but aware the minds of the non-aware, the bystanders, the people that watch this in school or at work need to talk about this because it is a massive flaw in our society today. We must encourage the victims to come forward, to show the perpetrators that their injured party is stronger than they could possibly imagine.

The Huffington Post reports one in three women have been sexually harassed at work. Thanks to the increased legitimization of victims it is expected the numbers may rise. Now that more women feel comfortable coming forward, the stigma against sexual harassment is lessening.

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Ratings don't last.  Great journalism does. - Dan Rather
#metoo Speaks Volumes