With movements like Me Too leading the pact against sexual assault/harassment, the phrase “enough is enough” has become a battle cry for the victims and survivors across America.
Taking to rise in 2017 as #MeToo, after the sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein, the Me Too movement has become the force behind supporting victims of sexual assault/ harassment and exposing those, especially high profile figures, such as celebrities and politicians.
Weinstein, famous film producer, had allegations of sexual harassment brought up against him by actresses Rose McGowan and Ashley Judd, which inspired many other actresses and actors to come forward to share their stories.
According to an article by the BBC, the allegations against Weinstein includes various details of actresses being forced to give him massages while he was naked to him touching male actors in a sexual manner.
Another controversial allegation of sexual assault/ harassment were against Bill Cosby, known for the Bill Cosby show and more, who was an iconic symbol in children’s entertainment.
Brett Last, NCC Title IX coordinator, talked about the allegations and what it meant for the victims of Cosby’s advances.
Explaining his views on the Me Too movement as being a positive influence on society, and after witnessing the victims of sexual assault being uncomfortable with coming forward, Last hopes that by women and men telling their stories, even when standing against high profile figures like Cosby, will give other victims the courage and strength to share their experiences and to hold these men accountable for their alleged crimes.
“I hope it encourages victims to come forward. I hope that the Bill Cosby case encourages victims to come forward, I hope it gives them a sense of courage and comfort knowing that a high profile figure was held accountable for his actions. It was local, they got to see the process go through up to the conclusion. It was a good thing for them to see him be held accountable,” Last said.
One of the factors that these men had in common was their celebrity status and influence of power in their industries, however, Cosby has been the only man whose allegations has led to incarceration while the others served no time.
Starting as a viral hashtag, #MeToo was used on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment. However, the Me Too movement became more prominent when the men and women, known as The Silence Breakers, told their stories and gave the movement a voice.
The Silence Breakers, from all over the world, broke their silence about sexual assault/ harassment. They span all across the world, from different races, ethnicities, religions, income classes and occupations.
Although these men and women all differ they all have one thing in common, the traumatizing sexual assault/ harassment experiences they’ve been through. They have started a revolution.
According to Time.com, “these silence breakers have started a revolution of refusal, gathering strength by the day, and in the past two months alone, their collective anger has spurred immediate and shocking results: nearly every day, CEOs have been fired, moguls toppled, icons disgraced. In some cases, criminal charges have been brought.”
From movie stars to janitors, millions of people have come forward with their stories. This may not be the end, but it is a huge leap forward for victims across the world.
Educational institutions, including NCC, have federal civil rights laws like Title IX, which is part of the Educational Amendments, that help combat sexual assault and harassment in the learning environment.
Established in 1972, according to ACLU.org, Title IX prohibits the discrimination on basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. The basis of sex, as stated in Title IX, includes sexual harassment, rape and sexual assault.
The stigma surrounding sexual assault/harassment have to be broken. We need to speak up so that we can provide a safer environment and take away any sense of power from those who believe that they are above it all due to their position.
There are resources available at NCC for those who feel like they are in a situation involving sexual assault/ harassment including Title IX coordinator Brett Last who can be reached by email BLast@nullnorthampton.edu as well as deputy coordinators located in CC Room 200.