Women Take the Heat: Sexual Assault in Hollywood

Photo from nme.com

It has become quite common to see sexual assault accusations appear in headlines, especially from those in the Hollywood scene. As more and more people find the strength to speak their truths, it’s becoming more apparent of the problems in our society that allow this to occur.

Recently, Percy Hynes White, the actor from the breakout tv show “Wednesday,” was accused of sexual assault. People have come forward accusing him of sexual assault as well as rape. Others have said he would send inappropriate photos to minors, manipulate girls, and supply women with drugs and alcohol so they wouldn’t be able to consent to sexual activity. The star has yet to respond to this slew of accusations.

Photo from twitter.com

Amid the multitude of allegations, a common phenomenon has occurred, where the public attention shifts to the women around the men accused. People have started asking Jenna Ortega, who plays the main character Wednesday in the show to come out and make a statement regarding the allegations. Fans putting pressure on Jenna Ortega doesn’t come as a surprise. Historically, when men have been accused of sexual assault, fans and media want statements from the women around them. 

In May 2018, news broke about how Harvey Weinstein had sexually assaulted many women in the film industry. The media immediately began harassing any women that had worked with or knew Weinstein. The main target was to get a statement from Jennifer Lawrence. Back in 2012, Jennifer Lawrence worked with The Weinstein Company on the hit movie “Sliver Linings Playbook,” where she won an Academy Award for best actress. The press, fans and television hosts would not stop bugging Jennifer Lawrence to make a statement about Weinstein. The shift is apparent: taking the attention away from the male accused and onto the female stars around him.

Photo from businessinsider.com

Why is there an expectation for women in Hollywood to speak out every time someone they may have worked with in the past is accused of sexual assault? Shouldn’t the focus be on why the sexual assault was allowed in the first place rather than what people from the past believe they know?However, while the phenomenon is confusing, it should not be surprising.

In our society, there are countless instances where women are compromised to take responsibility for men’s actions. As women bare this responsibility, it makes issues such as sexual assault prominently regarded as a women’s issue; it’s something women should have to deal with and bare the burden of, rather than men taking accountability for their actions and educating themselves.

There needs to be more education in school about consent, sexual assault and sexual health. It’s important to make any topic surrounding sex less of a taboo, therefore taking away the responsibility of women to be the ones to educate and explain sexual assault to the public. Maybe then we wouldn’t see female costars being asked countless questions regarding their male counterparts, and we’d see hear more about the work they are currently doing.


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