Weinstein-Aware, Beyond Hollywood

In recent weeks, the name “Harvey Weinstein” has become a common epithet for sexual predators in positions of power. As many current news and media stories—including one in this issue, by our News editor Hannah—tell us, the entertainment industry is treating its many “Harvey Weinsteins” like a recently-discovered infestation. With a reaction characterized by moralistic revulsion, panic, and shock, it’s as if a thriving colony of vermin has just been found in a cool, dark corner of Hollywood.

Many of us recognize, however, that shock is pretty unwarranted. The truth is that a lot of sexual predators barely need to hide and will be left alone. What’s really shocking now is that some of these men are, actually, losing their jobs, and that’s not due to the media industry’s deep righteousness. It’s the force of public denunciation—a force that one year ago was too weak to take Donald Trump down for the same behavior—that’s urging media giants to take action against the abusive men they have long employed. Following basic laws of momentum, more and more victims  have emerged to expose their attackers, harassers, and abusers on social media and in news outlets. In Hollywood, condemnation is finally on trend.

While sexual assault and harassment might be huge in Hollywood—and understandably so, in an industry so heavily influenced by superficiality—the “Harvey Weinstein” character is not exclusive to the entertainment industry. Sexual violence occurs everywhere, and abuses of power can take place in any workplace or environment, including academia. I want to remind all readers, not just students, that if they have a concern that has not been listened to, if there’s a “Harvey Weinstein” on this campus who has not been identified, the Voice is here to investigate and expose. We prioritize and protect our sources, and though we cannot base an entire story off of anonymous tips nor run anonymous articles, we will respect victims’ wishes of anonymity, especially when personal safety and job security are of concern.

Sexual assault and harassment is a rampant problem, and I don’t want to create the impression that I believe media exposure will solve it. Let me make my stance on that particular idealistic notion clear: it won’t. What it will do, however, is put the pressure of the public eye on the institutions and individuals charged with the responsibility of treating these issues, making the problem harder to ignore. While my hope is that there simply isn’t a single Weinstein-esque figure at Conn, my cynical proclivities and the statistical realities tell me that’s probably not the case. So if there’s someone in need of a platform on campus, send us an email. We’re here to make your voice heard.

 

-Maia

 

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