'It's been a long time coming:' mogul's downfall sparks a 'Weinstein effect' of calling out harassment

'It's been a long time coming:' mogul's downfall sparks a 'Weinstein effect' of calling out harassment
From CBC - October 20, 2017

The mounting allegations against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein have ignited a powerful, widespread discussiononline and offabout how pervasive sexual harassment and assault remain in our society today.

It's provoked a sort of "Weinstein effect," with waves of accusers coming forward to publicly callout powerful figures, and institutions acknowledging their allegations and quickly responding heartening activists who havelong battledsexual harassment.

"It's been a long time coming," journalist and documentary filmmaker Francine Pelletier told CBC Radio's Daybreak in Montreal this week, describing the "fast and furious" number of revelations emerging about high-profile men.

In Quebec alone, this week saw Just for Laughs president Gilbert Rozon, media personality ric Salvail and radio host Gilles Parent removed amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., the head of Amazon Studios, a top showrunner for kids network Nickelodeon and the editorial director for the influential Vox Media all lost their jobs this week after allegations of sexual harassment came to light.

"After years, decades, of holding all of these secrets in, things are rushing out now and it's a good thing, but it's also a very painful thing," Pelletier said.

We are now at a tipping point, the veteran journalist said.

"The fact that [powerful men] are tumbling so quickly...we hardly know what to do with this, because we are definitely not used to it. But it certainly says to me that these are new timesthat we are believing women."

#metoo tidal wave

The revelations about Weinstein (who, through a spokesperson, has deniedengaging in any non-consentual sex) initiated a tidal wave of reaction across social media, propelled by hashtags aimingto spreading awareness of the ubiquity of assaultlike #metoo (and #moiaussi), popularized this week by actress Alyssa Milanowith origins in a movement started a decadeago by American activist Tarana Burke.

If youve been sexually harassed or assaulted write me too as a reply to this tweet.


I was just made aware of an earlier #MeToo movement, and the origin story is equal parts heartbreaking and inspiring


Hundreds of thousands of womenand some men as wellhave used such hashtags on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram this past week.

With the scope of the Weinstein scandal and the widespread discussion it has provoked, "I think this is quite possibly the biggest case that we have seen so far," Paulette Senior, president and CEO of the Canadian Women's Foundation, said from Halifax.

Fighting to publicize and seek change on issues of violence against women can feel like pushing a massive boulder uphill, she said.

"And then something happens that changes the tide. I am hoping that this is a moment in time where that boulder gets lighter and smaller We can also see the court system react differently. We can start to see systems change because the enormity of this issue has come to fore."

That's not to say there are not other "Harveys" still out there, Senior pointed out.


Time for action

"At some point we have to stop gathering dataWhat we need is for people to start believing the data we already have and to put into action the kind of harassment prevention and sexual assault prevention tips that have been developed.' - Shawna Ferris, University of Manitoba



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