In Hollywood, It's Time to Start Believing the Victim

Sexual harassment is deeply ingrained in Hollywood, but exposing it en masse should give us hope.

In Hollywood, It's Time to Start Believing the Victim
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The men of Hollywood are being exposed for sexual harassment at an alarming rate. One of the most powerful producers in film has been disgraced, Netflix's charming Southern politician has been outed as an alleged pedophile, and the LAPD is investigating Hyde from That '70s Show for assaulting five women. These revelations have come swiftly and without mercy, the downpour so abrupt we hardly have time to process one accusation before another dominates headlines.

Revelations like these are shocking. Often, we associate actors with their fictional characters, making it that much harder when they turn out to be unworthy of our respect and appreciation. Actors may not always be role models, but their roles are written to trigger emotion. They influence us, for better or for worse, and who wants to discover the last person they pinned on their "Actors I Love" Pinterest board is an emotional and physical terrorist?

Admittedly, when allegations emerged against George Takei, there was a twist in my gut. The Star Trek legend, who has since said he is "shocked and bewildered" by the claims, has been the author of many of my favorite tweets for years. As a member of the LGBTQ community, he's been a beacon of change in the entertainment industry, continuing to stand for something more even after his retirement. He is the type of celebrity worth following, and yet, he is not immune.

In Hollywood, It's Time to Start Believing the Victim
Getty

Like many, I find myself with mixed feelings at this time. I am angry, though unsurprised. I am proud of and thankful for women like Rose McGowan, who have lived with years of abuse only to find some delayed, twisted form of justice in 2017. I am astonished by the pure number of men who knew thought they could get away with hurting others because they are powerful and well-connected. But more than anything, I am relieved that this pervasive issue finally seems to be inspiring the public to put the victim first.

With every additional actor exposed for sexual harassment, I am saddened, but encouraged. Though I take no pleasure in seeing fathers and husbands like Louis C.K. revealed as sexual deviants, I am immeasurably pleased that no more women will be victimized by his harassment. I am thrilled that, with every new claim, there is a woman who is finally, finally being heard, respected, and believed.

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It's no secret that power corrupts, and this scandal has reminded the world it's right to question authority. We've stumbled upon proof that no matter how much money or influence you have, you can (and will) be ruined for ruining another person's life. Women who have been scared and hushed for so long are now emboldened, and the men who have wronged them are, at long last, cowering in the shadows as the shame of their actions burns in the spotlight.

A scandal of this size will — it must — change Hollywood forever, and in extension, the world. Every day, I wake up wondering who's next with looming disappointment. Underneath, though, is a seed of hope that this purge represents a shift in the public — an inclination to listen, to care about the victims of sexual harassment instead of glossing over their courage and discrediting their pain.

In Hollywood, and in life, it's time to start believing the victim.

Find me on Twitter @WellHelloCecily. Instagram @CecilyTrowbridge.
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