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When Silence Can Cost You, Point Blank with Asian Weekly, 17th November, 2017

01 Dec

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The entertainment industry worldwide has been shaken up to scandals and accusations of casting couches especially in Hollywood. Harvey Weinstein has attracted all the media attention for which he works. He founded the film production company Miramax and then after winning several Academy Awards he and his brother Bob set up the famous Weinstein Company. Harvey seems to have the Oscar Midas touch and the Academy Award winning films include Django Unchained, The Imitation Game and more.

But his life turned upside down in October last month when the New Yorker published a detailed article of how Harvey Weinstein had sexually abused and harassed women in the industry. As his wife who is a fashion designer and actress, Georgina Chapman walked out on their marriage, over 70 women came out with their story of what Harvey did to them. Soon the hashtag #MeToo which was created by activist Tarana Burke became famous when actress Alyssa Milano gave her voice to the subject. Alyssa is famous for the TV series Charmed.

The domino effect created by Harvey’s story coming out led to other celebrities being accused too. These include Ben Affleck, Dustin Hoffman, and more including Mariah Carey. Each of the accused is now defending or suffering whatever consequences are in store for them. For example Britain’s Conservative Party MP Sir Michael Fallon immediately resigned after it was brought up that he inappropriately touched a journalist’s knee implying that things went too far. The notion has always been that the entertainment industry, which includes the movies, advertising world, fashion, theatre or dance are all plagued with affairs, sexual harassment and different sexual orientations. This Hollywood shake up has resulted in a new hotline for legal aid assistance being prepared for such cases by the Oscar-winning producer Cathy Schulman, president of Women in Film.

But this inappropriate behavior has been in Hollywood since the days of Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland. Bollywood too is under these disgusting pressures and earlier this year the famous Bajirao, Ranveer Singh came out in the open with an incident where a top film industrialist propositioned him. He said that strugglers are succumbed to these low level tactics in order just to enter the industry or get bigger breaks.

Every story needs its own lifeline and this time sexual harassment has gotten it. From studios to parliament to boardrooms, it is the talk of the topic on every desk in every part of the world possible. Women and men do not want to be bullied anymore and rightfully so. It is known that the male predators 90% of the time get away and justice is hardly served. Kindly note that abuse is also done verbally and nowadays with the use of social media especially through Whatsapp. But women too are not reporting the cases for fear of losing their jobs or social pressures but mostly because no action is taken against the male predator and sometimes the situation gets worse. Things are terrible if you go deeper and see that almost every year still in the world a relative or parent or guardian sexually abuses over 150 million girls and 73 million boys.

The whole moral compass has gone down the gutter. In the process the innocent are suffering. They no longer have a voice, they no longer know what is normal, and they no longer have a chance in not becoming what is happening to them.

The improved technology offers a lot of safeguarding, while you can record an incident, you can easily become the victim and be taped and be blackmailed. This viscous web needs a strong intervention. It does have to start right from family structures, cultural ties and most importantly in the school systems. Every system needs fairness and stability. This is an ideal wish but the beginning of better behavior. Discuss with your children what are the limitations to relationships even with their own relatives if required. Discuss with your children even when they enter the workplace of what is not appropriate. Discuss with your trusted partners or friends and if they still do not listen to you, or have the courage to be there for you, remember that there is always help out there, never give up. To the predators, your days are numbered.

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Posted by on December 1, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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