The hidden pressure to belong, get along, get it on, but don’t say anything!
That seems to be the message this last week from the voices of women who have been unfortunate to have crossed paths with Mr. Weinstein. Hollywood has historically had the casting couch and ‘the old boys club’ where women and aspiring actors were routinely used by those in positions of power. Sex was used as a tool to get what you wanted, with no accountability. This is about having power over and the abuse of that power which is the ultimate betrayal.
Sexual harassment leaves victims feeling shattered. Their sense of trust and self-worth torn up like a Hollywood contract.
I speak from experience on what can happen with this power imbalance and the betrayal. As a police officer it was part of the workplace culture to obey our senior officers, not to question or doubt that authority, the importance of going along to get along. I can remember when I was a young female police officer and the challenges faced with sexual harassment. What should I say about the name calling, how do I respond to the derogatory comments about my body, how do I react to the disgusting jokes about women and how do I tell them not to touch me? These were questions with no answers because there was no one to ask for help in a culture that protects their own. The workplace allowed and even condoned the behavior so it escalated.
My message to victims is to speak up and take back your power. My message to those who knew of the abuse and remained silent, please speak up. The victims need to know that they did nothing wrong. We make decisions based on what we can do at the time.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
– Martin Luther King, Jr.