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25 November 2022 | Podcasts | Article by Danielle Vincent

A discussion on 'She Said': HJ Talks About Abuse

The recent release of the ‘She Said’ movie, that provides an imperative account of Harvey Weinstein's abuse, and has brought significant attention to the subject and has allowed victims the opportunity to speak up about their own stories.

Five years ago in 2017, the NY Times brought to light the disgusting and rampant sexual abuse the very famous and well-known film producer Harvey Weinstein was subjecting his co-workers, many of which were very famous and high-profile actors, some of which bravely came out and spoke about in order to seek justice. Weinstein, we understand maintains his innocence.

The publishing exposed details of decades of allegations and sexual harassment by Weinstein, leading to many other victims coming forward with their own accusations they had been subjected to by both Weinstein and other Hollywood instruments, eventually resulting in his subsequent conviction in February 2020, whereby he was found by a New York jury of guilty of sexual assault and sentenced to 23 years in prison. He has been given leave to appeal.

Since then, fast forward to 2022, the film ‘She Said’ has been released and reviewed as an empathetic and effective account of Weinstein’s abuse and spawned the #Metoo movement, a social movement against sexual abuse, sexual harassment and rape culture in which people publicise their own experiences with the purpose of empowering victims, specifically through solidarity and strength through numbers (https://metoomvmt.org/ ). The exposure of Weinstein’s abuse led the campaign to go viral and saw an increase of social media users utilising the hashtag to share their own stories.

She Said movie summary:

The film follows the lives of 2 NY journalists as they follow a trail of allegations of Weinstein’s abuse, uncovering as the plot progresses details of the abuse he subjected his victims to.

The film has been praised as embodying the act in talking and listening through conversations in order to symbolise the importance of victims speaking up about sexual abuse.

Essentially, the film highlights what is often not shown in films of this nature, a person reporting the incident themselves, with the film’s centre goal film’s goal being the importance of women using their own voices when they have fallen victim to such acts of sexual assault.

She Said, Overview / Comments:

Each time someone discloses abuse regardless of the scenario or situation, whether that be in the workplace, social settings, religion, education or directly to the authorities, every allegation should be taken seriously, and full investigations carried out.  We have time and time again, argued mandatory reporting is needed in many scenarios but this sadly is still not in place.

Harvey Weinstein was a man of power in the entertainment industry and used such power to abuse his position over a prolonged period. There is no doubt that some of those around him would have been aware or suspicious of his behaviour.

Often, high powered people get away or, maybe, feel as though they can get away with sexual assault because they have the power and influence to silence their victims, either through bribery, promises or threats of some kind in order to avoid consequences of their actions.

Often the main factor for not coming forward for a survivor is the concern they will not be believed therefore sadly the perpetrator continues.

The judicial system has as we have seen, protected identities of survivors in high profile cases such as the Harvey Weinstein trials. Again, another reason why people do not come forward especially in such situation as this would be to be identified to the world.  Survivors should be encouraged their identities can remain anonymous.

The real impact we have seen from the #metoo movement, was to provide strength and confidence for those who perhaps did so feel they would not have been believed before to come forward.

We have seen this time and time again, that once one person has come forward, more often do so. Often a survivor may think they were the only one.

The movement also has highlighted that sexual abuse/threat or harassment is never acceptable or should be suffered regardless of the scenario.

The #metoo movement has provoked much more debate and open discussion, raising awareness which helps to educate each of us and hopefully disperses the myths of blame culture and that those in power are untouchable. 

Much focus needs to continue on safeguarding in all industries especially ones where there is potential for an abuse of power like Harvey Weinstein.

We encourage such films such as those which highlights abuse as it keeps the discussions in the public eye and continues to raise awareness.

Statistics:

Sadly, it is a well-known fact that sexual assault is a very prevalent issue in modern times, and even more so in Hollywood.

A recent survey found that 94% of the respondents in the entertainment industry have experienced sexual harassment or assault at some point in their careers. This number is likely even higher, as many incidents go unreported.

This statistic is particularly troubling when considering how often sexual misconduct occurs in Hollywood.

(The Prevalence of Sexual Assault in Hollywood | KMD Law)

According to research, 52% of women, and 63% of women aged 18-24, reported experiencing sexual harassment at work:

  • 32% said they had been subjected to unwelcome sexual jokes
  • 28% had experienced sexual comments regarding their body or attire
  • 23% had been touched against their consent
  • 20% had experienced unwanted verbal sexual advances
  • 12% had been sexually assaulted

(Sexual harassment in the workplace | EW Group (theewgroup.com))

Conclusion

Getting legal help after being sexually assaulted can be an essential step in healing and moving on with your life. It can also be an important step in holding the perpetrator accountable for their actions.

We encourage anyone who has concerns about sexual abuse to get in touch. You can contact Alan Collins at [email protected] or Danielle Vincent at [email protected]

 


Author bio

Danielle is a Senior Associate in the Abuse Specialist Personal Injury Department. She specialises in representing survivors of abuse and has experience in bringing claims against; sporting institutions, schools, religious institutions, scout organisations, County Councils, medical professionals and therapists. She is also acting on a number of compensation redress schemes including the Manchester City Scheme, Lambeth Children's Home Redress Scheme and the Northern Ireland Redress Scheme.

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Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.

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