In light of the recent attention and responses of sexual harassment from the press and key figures in Hollywood, we need to draw our attention and action to change the culture of the industry and our society that allows for any form of sexual violence to exist. Sexual harassment is a form of sexual violence in a larger framework of rape culture and we must shift our focus to the proponents that have reinforced these systems.
Environments in which any level of abuse of a sexual nature and objectification is routine, where the rights of others are minimized, excused or disregarded lead to the normalization of sexual violence. Bystanders have key roles in the persistence of sexual violence, they aid and abet these norms when they look the other way or play into the schemes and systems that perpetuate rape culture. Most importantly, however, is that bystanders can use their power and influence to stop and prevent sexual violence by standing up, speaking out, and making significant changes.
It isn’t the sole responsibility of one individual or one case of sexual harassment/violence to create these shifts, we need to focus on the culture that allows sexual violence to happen and commit to changing the conditions that allow rape to happen at all.