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Sexual harassment: The epidemic that persists

In America the concept was coined in the Seventies. Forty years later, the sordidness of Hollywood recalls that the abuse at work is still in force

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Sexual harassment: The epidemic that persists

"Women are beginning to denounce sexual harassment at work." This headline does not correspond to this week's campaign, for which thousands of people have started to write on social networks a self too (in English, Me too) with which y claim to have been siege. It is headline of an article in New York Times of 1975 in which he spoke of a murky custom that professionals suffered in working world, that to which y were being incorporated to doors. Unwanted physical contacts, sexual propositions rejected but repeated to nausea or lewd comments, all made from blackmail or abuse of power, were dynamic present from before, but in U.S. y collected a letter of nature in Seventy.

Professor Mary Rowe, Ombusdsperson (defender) of MIT (Cambridge, Massachusetts) in those years, was one of first to use concept, although stamp is also attributed to reporter Lin Farley, who n directed a training program for women In working World at Cornell University (Ithaca, New York). Farley concluded that those experiences that told him responded to a more or less common pattern extended to all sectors. "It's an epidemic," he commented in that article of 75.

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This week it was easy to think about same word: epidemic. The case of Harvey Weinstein, almighty film producer who has just received a torrent of accusations of abuses of a different degree, from harassment to rape, has put in center of present that old and murky issue of harassment. The list of alleged victims hits, goes from Mira Sorvino to Rosanna Arquette, passing by Gwyneth Paltrow to Angelina Jolie. Last Sunday, in midst of scandal, actress Alyssa Milano proposed on Twitter that anyone who had suffered something like this in her life wrote in her profile a "I too" and, suddenly, social networks were flooded with testimonies.

Weinstein's story has opened a spigot, but one cannot even say that subject was asleep in United States. The case of Bill Cosby, which dozens of women have accused, is very fresh: trial for only case that has brought him to court will be repeated next April. The Fox scandal also erupted this year. The New York Times uncovered that television network had been paying millions of dollars for years to women to silence allegations of harassment against its president, Roger Ailes, and his star presenter, Bill O'Reilly. The first, recently deceased, ended up resigning, and O'Reilly was fired last April amid a flight of advertisers. In fact, according to published this Saturday Times, published that last February Fox had decided to extend his contract, a month after a millionaire agreement with a worker.

These episodes add to 20 employees of Uber dismissed for harassment this summer or recent resignation of head of Amazon Studios, Roy Price, for an accusation of abuse. Not even that campaign of Me too is new, but it rescues an initiative of 2006 of a woman who sought to visible sexual aggressions.

Few complaints

Days after case of Weinstein, Washington Post and ABC chain conducted a survey in which a third of women claimed to have been once object of unwanted sexual innuendo by a superior or co-worker with power About his post. And, of this group, a third party pointed out that that boss or employee had abused m. The same survey indicated that 6 out of 10 women who had suffered that siege had not notified any supervisor. The affected ones declared to be intimidated (60%), ashamed (31%) and, above all, angry (83%).

Sexual harassment at work is a cursed affair: The sufferer feels many incentives to shut up and few to denounce, who knows him needs to feign ignorance to justify his inaction or indifference, and who commits usually have a parcel of power that It will make you come out unscad. The three elements are perfectly combined in this sordid history of Hollywood. Time will tell if fever of se days becomes a real awareness, if allegations stop passing without penalty or glory. A little over a year ago, actor Elijah Wood, who triumphed at age of eighteen as an interpreter of Frodo in The Lord of Rings, denounced a pact of silence on sexual abuse of children. "Pedophiles are protected by powerful figures in film industry," he cried.

Harvey Weinstein, anor case of silence ' Spotlight '

Tom Hanks, Ryan Gosling, Emma Thompson ... Celebrities have come out in droves to condemn behavior of Harvey Weinstein, many of m assuring that y did not know, ors confirming that it was a secret to voices (which gave even for some jokes in cinema galas). But re are so many women who accuse him and that in his day he told his companions or friends that number of people who safely knew it is disturbing.

The case, rar than revealing existence of female harassers in labor ecosystem, has ignited alarm over mantle of silence that covered story. Quentin Tarantino acknowledged this Thursday his sense of guilt in statements to The New York Times. "I knew enough to have done more than I did," he said, adding that re was "something more than traditional rumors and usual gossip." As in case of child abuse in Boston church, uncovered by Boston Globe and immortalized in film Spotlight, News center was in institutionalized complicity.

Weinstein has refuted assaults attributed to him, but has implicitly acknowledged some of harassment allegations (a recording picks up one of m). He justified himself by saying that he was educated in Sixties and Seventies, at a time when he argued that way to behave was different from that of today. His own story proves he's wrong. Forty years later, harassment still seems to be an epidemic


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