Na´ve but not discouraged: Whatever you do, don't stay quiet

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Sexual harassment is a realistic workplace hazard that many choose to ignore. People would rather turn a blind eye and claim they never saw it coming then face the issue head on.

The most recent sexual harassment scandal, reported by the New York Times, involved Hollywood producer Harry Weinstein.

The article, written by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, detailed the decades of sexual harassment women have suffered at the hands of Weinstein.

Accounts of Weinstein's conduct shared a common narrative: Women would report to a hotel for what they believed were work-related reasons, but discovered that Weinstein, who has been married for most of the time the sexual harassment occurred, had other plans.

While becoming famous for his films that helped define femininity, sex and romance, as well as thrillers such as "Pulp Fiction" and "Good Will Hunting", Weinstein negotiated at least eight settlements with women over sexual harassment claims.

Among recipients were a young New York assistant in 1990, an actress in 1997, a London assistant in 1998, an Italian model in 2015 and a Weinstein Company employee.

Many of these settlements also included confidentiality clauses which prohibited the women from speaking about the settlement.

While information would not be provided by Weinstein or his lawyers regarding the settlements, he did say that when addressing employee concerns about work place issues, "my motto is to keep the peace."

Many of these women suspected they were also being used to facilitate liaisons with "vulnerable women who hope he will get them work", according to the New York Times article.

Dozens of Weinstein's former and current employees said they were aware of inappropriate conduct while working for him, but only a few confronted him about his actions.

Women were encouraged not to speak out about what had happened. Many times they were rewarded with gifts such as spontaneous bonuses or career help.

When this came out to board members and executives, the board was assured there was no need to investigate.

This is just one example out of many.

Sexual harassment occurs at businesses across the world, yet the men and women affected either don't come forward or they do and aren't taken seriously.

This is an important reminder to all who are being sexually harassed, victimized or abused to tell the truth about what happened. I encourage you to address the situation head on - tell your local law enforcement and seek the justice you deserve.

Don't stay quiet.

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