A new survey reports that a staggering, almost unbelievable, 94% of women in the entertainment industry have experienced some kind of sexual misconduct or another in their careers. This survey comes only a few months after the #MeToo movement started, along with the allegations of sexual misconduct against some very powerful men in Hollywood.
It’s only been about four months since the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault scandal broke the headlines, empowering women, and men, all over Hollywood to come forward and tell their own stories as victims of sexual assault from Harvey and other powerful men in the entertainment industry. So far, we’ve seen the incredibly successful careers of Kevin Spacey, Matt Lauer and Louis C.K. basically end, while the careers of people like Woody Allen, Jeffrey Tambor and T.J. Miller are hanging by a thread. According to the report, we’ve seen total of 150 men accused since the Weinstein scandal broke. Women all over the industry, who have suffered in silence for years, have been given the power and the courage to come forward and finally tell their stories to a public that will listen and hold the men responsible.
But exactly how many women in Hollywood are faced with sexual misconduct during their career in the entertainment industry? USA Today is reporting that a sobering 94% of women in the entertainment industry have faced sexual misconduct during their career. Their report says:
“Working in partnership with The Creative Coalition, Women in Film and Television and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, USA TODAY surveyed 843 women who work in the entertainment industry in a variety of roles (producers, actors, writers, directors, editors and others) and asked them about their experiences with sexual misconduct.”
The phrase “sexual misconduct” is important here, because that covers any number of unwanted sexual advances by men, who are often older and in positions of power: groping, propositioning for sex, exposing themselves, coercing women into sexual situations and even “forcing women to disrobe and appear naked at an audition without prior warning.” On top of that 94%, 21% of those women reported that they were forced into a sexual act at least once.
It appears that the majority (87%) of this sexual misconduct comes from inappropriate jokes or comments made about or to women, while 69% of women reported to being touched in a sexual way. Even more devastating, only one in four women reported these occurrences for fear of professional backlash or reprisals. These are stunning numbers, but Anita Raj, director of the Center for Gender Equity and Health at the University of California, San Diego’s medical school, urges that this survey be treated with “some caution.” No survey is perfect, and while this particular study faced it’s own limitations (for instance, only 843 women took part in the survey, which is not nearly indicative of the entire female workforce in the entertainment industry), she does find credibility in this study. Raj said, “The percentages (in USA TODAY’s survey) are higher than what we typically see for workplace abuses, but we know there is variation by the type of workplace. But it makes sense to me that we would see higher numbers (in the entertainment industry).” She elaborated even further, saying:
“Yes, I’d like to see more solidity in the scientific aspects of how the data was collected. But 94% does not seem shocking. It says this is ubiquitous in Hollywood. There is a lack of clarity on what constitutes professional interactions in this (Hollywood) context. So it wouldn’t surprise me if in fact it were 94%.”
The reality is that men in Hollywood have gone unchecked for far too long. A reckoning has come for the entertainment industry, and it’s time for things to change. For years, women have been swept under the rug and kept silent by threats, lawsuits and even promises of a successful career. When the Weinstein story broke, it changed everything going forward. We are currently witnessing a momentous point in history, and let’s hope that the industry will become a safe place for anyone who wants to work hard for a career.
Source: USA Today
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