There is a monster under the bed. This monster is shrouded by a willing silence by those who have known it was there, so allow me to jump right into it: there is a sexual abuse epidemic unfolding.
With that being said, other outlets have the ability to give far more power to those victims than I could ever hope to do. Therefore, you will not find a focus on the men and women who have come forward with claims of abuse. This is not out of disrespect or lack of importance. Instead, you will find a spotlight on the demons and on ourselves.
The entertainment industry is an empire. By now, the word “Hollywood” has been used to describe the crippling revelations of sexual assault, as if to contain it all into one vacuum. Make no mistake: this is no Hollywood issue.
Harvey Weinstein. That name is now synonymous with predatory actions. He sexually assaulted a countless number of women. His name evokes images of power and the abuse that occurs when that power belongs to someone lacking moral responsibility and respect. This is no Hollywood issue; this is a power issue.
Kevin Spacey. That name is now synonymous with an alleged, intended molestation. He attempted to seduce then 14-year-old Anthony Rapp in 1986. With his reputation now sullied by assault allegations, his career was obliterated in the blink of an eye. This is no power issue; this is a career issue.
Seth MacFarlane. That name is now synonymous with inaction. He weaved subtle hints about the knowledge of industry sexual abuse into his comedy. His voice, with the ability to speak up, instead spoke in the form of jokes onstage and gags in “Family Guy.” Where MacFarlanes voice could have allied the voices of women too afraid to speak out of fear of delegitimization, it instead allied the use of his comedy. This is no career issue; this is a human issue.
A matter of trust has been demolished with all of these revelations, and its a trust that cannot be restored. A lot of people are finding their escapism in entertainment, their admirations for the craft and their trust in people of power ripped away from them and rightfully so.
It is something that no one can afford to look away from, but it is also something that is difficult to deal with and easy to make mistakes when attempting to do so. Weinstein chose to pay to silence allegations. Spacey chose to come out as gay to divert attention. MacFarlane chose to speak in riddles. But what can we do, as onlookers, to deal with this issue?
We can listen. When Corey Feldman spoke on “The View” in 2013 about the industrys sexual abuse problem, only to be shut down and scolded by then-host Barbara Walters, the epidemic was able to continue unobstructed. We must listen and allow ourselves the opportunity to hear peoples testimonies.
We can speak. Before Weinstein was a known sexual predator, the ability to speak and cast a spotlight on such villains in power was nearly impossible. Now, the world has changed. With the revelations of Spaceys alleged misconduct, it is now possible to spread the news like wildfire and let the world see their deeds. We can speak and have the opportunity to act.
We can fight. It is our duty as civilians to act on what is right and to battle what is wrong. It isnt always so clear-cut as this, but that is life: a pursuit of being mindful. If the victims of sexual abuse must listen, speak and fight, then it is our duty to do so with them. Whether it is a Weinstein or a Spacey, it makes no difference. This is no Hollywood issue. This is no power issue. This is no career issue. The faces differ, the names change, but the fact is that the monster is not dead. We, as fellow human beings, have an obligation to fight it.
This is a human issue.
The epidemic of sexual abuse occurs not only on an industry level, but in our streets. It occurs in our neighbors houses, our alleyways, our churches, our schoolrooms and our own rooms. If this is an uncomfortable thought, ask yourself: what can we do?