The horror of sexual harassment
An explosive Hollywood scandal has alarmed us all, says Morgan Reardon
Hollywood heavyweight and producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual harassment of actresses and female staff members has ignited a debate about abuse of power not only in Hollywood, but in all workplaces. It’s got the Cosmo office talking. Just what is sexual harassment? In short, any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature including suggestive comments or jokes, intrusive questions about your private life or your appearance, inappropriate staring, unwelcome physical contact and sexually explicit texts, emails, images or phone calls.
Think you’re immune to the misogyny seen in Hollywood? You’re not. One in five women experience sexual harassment in the workplace in Australia*.
Lani** never expected it to happen to her. ‘I was in a meeting discussing beauty treatments for a story when I mentioned there was a product that had semen as an ingredient. My male boss turned to me, said, “Want a free facial?”, and laughed. I never brought it up with anyone more senior than him because I didn’t want to be seen as someone who couldn’t take a joke. But I can take a joke, and this wasn’t one.’
While cases like Weinstein’s might seem far away in La La Land, they aren’t. It’s happening in our backyard and the only way to fight it is to speak up. If you feel like you’ve been a victim and want to report it, check out Humanrights.gov.au.