By: Neal Kisor, News Writer
Recently, the world of Hollywood and media have been stirring over a swath of sexual misconduct claims and allegations. The claims began to snowball after Harvey Weinstein received over eighty claims of sexual abuse. Many people were astonished over the allegations associated with Weinstein. For a small group of people who were affected by celebrities and politicians, this coming-forward was encouraging.
Since the Weinstein allegations, dozens of people have come forward to reveal other celebrities, news anchors, and politicians of sexual abuse. Among those are CBS journalist Charlie Rose, comedian Louis C.K., actor Kevin Spacey, NBC journalist Matt Lauer, Michigan U.S. Representative John Conyers, and many, many more.
This massive influx of allegations is being called the “Weinstein Effect”. Essentially, the act of accusing Weinstein with sexual abuse encouraged other men and women to come forward with their own stories. This effect isn’t unheard of. In a study conducted by RAINN with data used by the National Crime Victimization Survey, 690 cases of rape go unreported, and out of the 310 that are reported, only six reports lead to incarceration.
For college students, the stats are even more shocking. For college-aged females, only 20% of rape cases are reported, meaning that four out of five cases go unheard. The leading cause for this silence is feared retaliation or believing that police would not help the survivor. It is easy to understand why men and women would remain silent. Celebrities and politicians often use their powerful social status to cause the abuse in the first place. Retaliation becomes much more terrifying when your assailant is in such a high position of power.
Therefore, it isn’t improbable that these people coming forward are a direct result of Weinstein’s allegations. People are discovering that it is not they, the survivors, who face ridicule. Rather, it is the people in those places of power who are being punished. The results are clear as day. Weinstein was kicked out of his company’s board of directors, Rose and Lauer were both dropped by their respective companies, and Conyers faces judgement from his party, state, and nation.
Rape and sexual misconduct are serious topics. One mustn’t discard any allegations simply because many are arising. This movement is positive, and will give survivors at least a shred of closure. Though these crimes are taking place on a large scale, all cases of sexual misconduct are serious. If you are, or feel as though you’ve been, a victim of rape or sexual abuse you may call National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline (RAINN) at 800-656-4673.