Between #MeToo and the new 'Time's Up' movement sexual assault awareness and prevention is taking Hollywood, and the world by storm. People are speaking up, and celebrities are talking about sexual assault among the elite, and the even more taboo topic of sexual assault in the workplace.
The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It's time to do something about it.
On January 1, 2018 over 300 women who work in film, television, and theater wrote an open letter of solidarity for victims of sexual harassment and assault that ran in The New York Times and La Opinion, a Spanish language newspaper.
The beginning of the letter shares their reason for speaking out, "A little more than two months ago, courageous individuals revealed the dark truth of ongoing sexual harassment and assault by powerful people in the entertainment industry. At one of our most difficult and vulnerable moments, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (the National Farmworker Women's Alliance) sent us a powerful and compassionate message of solidarity for which we are deeply grateful."
It continues, "To the members of Alianza and farmworker women across the country, we see you, we than you, and we acknowledge the heavy weight of our common experience of being preyed upon, harassed, and exploited by those who abuse their power and threaten our physical and economic security."
The Times Up movement resembles the #MeToo movement of 2017 because it has been fronted by a number of notable celebrities and has been widespread on social media. However, the women involved are not pinpointing a specific leader; rather, they are showing a united front.
"We also recognize our privilege and the fact that we have access to enormous platforms to amplify our voices. Both of which have drawn and driven widespread attention to the existence of this problem in our industry that farmworker women and countless individuals employed in other industries have not been afforded," the letter says.
The Time's Up movement aims to address the "systematic inequality and injustice in the workplace that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential." From white collar to blue collar, this crusade looks to unite all women behind a common cause and help marginalized groups, who are traditionally unable, to speak out without fear of retaliation.
No more silence. No more waiting. No more tolerance for discrimination, harassment or abuse.
Angela Rose is an assault survivor and advocate for prevention, awareness, and change in how sexual assault is perceived, legislated and affects others. She has been an outspoken supporter for other survivors, and has specifically worked to raise awareness of sexual assault in Hollywood.
"What's so exciting about what's happening now in Hollywood is that 300 plus celebrities, producers, directors have gotten together to create the Time's Up movement," Rose said. "And what I love about this is that it's not just supporting Hollywood's elites and all of the famous folks who have dealt with this issue, but it's also looking at the more marginalized communities, the more underrepresented communities, that it's going to look at different industries. It's very holistic and strategically focused on everyone; white collar, blue collar, because sexual violence affects everyone."
At age 17, Rose was kidnapped and sexually assaulted by a man who murdered his previous victim. In college, she founded PAVE (Promoting Awareness | Victim Empowerment); now, a national 501(c)(3). Through PAVE, Rose and her colleagues work in schools, with members of the military, and with other sexual assault survivors on sexual assault awareness, prevention, and healing.
PAVE's Hollwood initiative works to "educate and empower members of the entertainment industry to shatter the silence and prevent sexual violence. Producers, directors, casting professionals, talent agents and studio executives have come together to take a stand against sexual assault and make a difference in their community."
Angela worked with Bill Cosby survivors actress Barbara Bowman and former basketball player Andrea Constand in 2015-2016 when many women came forward with accusations against the actor. Rose has also worked with two of the women featured in the Netflix documentary, Audrie and Daisy, Daisy Coleman and Delaney Henderson, as well as with Real Housewives of Potomac star Karen Huger when she came forward to tell her story of sexual assault. PAVE's Ambassador program involves many well-known outspoken survivors and media personalities. PAVE Ambassador Julia Dixon stood alongside Lady Gaga during her 2016 Oscar performance of the survivor song "Til It Happens to You."
For years Rose has told her story and acted as an advocate for assault survivors and PAVE has been on the forefront of discussing sexual assault in Hollywood and the workplace.
Shattering the silence of sexual violence.
"I think it's going to be an incredible year of social change and to create a 'consent culture,'" Rose said. "We talk a lot about this notion of a 'rape culture' where these crimes have been thrown under the rug, they've been silenced for too long; and I think what's happening now In 2018 is that people are standing up to say 'no more' and the times are changing and that it's time for us to stand up together in solidarity."
Before you make a move, remember 'Consent M.O.V.E.S.': (M)utual, (O)ngoing, (V)erbal, (E)nthusiastic, (S)ober
PAVE works with K-12 students. Rose said it's important that young people learning what "consent is" early on is one of the keys to ending the sexual harassment epidemic. "We need to remember to educate young people on what consent means because all too often in Hollywood we are seeing a lot of the men who are being accused of these crimes saying that their defense was that it was 'consensual.'" Rose continued, "if a person is rendered incapacitated by an intoxicant, and if it's not enthusiastic and verbal, and mutual and ongoing then there is no consent."
"Sexual violence and sexual assault sees no color, no age, no race, no gender, it can happen to anyone," Rose said. She also highlighted how hard it can be for marginalized groups to report assault when it happens to them.
Time's Up has started a 'Legal Defense Fund' that is housed and will be administered by the National Women’s Law Center. The fund will provide and subsidize legal support for "individuals who have experienced sexual harassment or related retaliation in the workplace... Access to prompt and comprehensive legal and communications help will mean empowerment for these individuals and long-term growth for our culture and communities as a whole."
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