In the last few weeks, more and more successful and powerful men have been accused of sexually assaulting, exploiting, and abusing vulnerable, trusting, and unsuspecting male and female teenagers and adults. The horrifying notion of a “casting couch” is apparently still alive and well. And allegations against sexual perpetrators from various other industries are also emerging.
Victims are made to feel powerless: believing that either speaking up or not complying would have a devastating impact on their present and future livelihoods. But, the good news is that more victims have found the courage to come forward. This can have a profoundly positive effect:
It hopefully encourages prospective abusers to think twice before preying on victims, showing them they might not get away with their criminal behaviors
When victims speak up, they are letting perpetrators know that the impact of what they’ve done reaches far beyond the acute moments of confusion, terror, pain, betrayal, or helplessness experienced during the violation. It’s imperative that these courageous disclosures are met with a full investigative process to determine if criminal charges should be pressed. It’s equally important that any organization partnering with or endorsing the work of an actor, producer, or another type of professional, who admit to being a sexual predator, also finds the courage to take a stand and terminate their association with that person. It’s heartening to see that film and television studios are doing just that in response to recent admissions of “indiscretions.”
And now for the bad news:
In part two of this series, I will focus on the adverse impact that these disclosures can have and what survivors can do to comfort and protect themselves as additional stories of abuse and betrayal continue to come to light.