A Push To End Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

Air Date:
Heard On The Morning Show
Harvey Weinstein
In this Feb. 22, 2015 file photo, Harvey Weinstein arrives at the Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. On Saturday, Oct. 14, 2016, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revoked Weinstein’s membership. Vince Bucci/AP Photo

In response to the Harvey Weinstein scandal and related fallout, women around the world are coming forward on social media to show that they, too, are victims of sexual harassment and assault. Our guest weighs in on the growing #MeToo trend and the systemic changes she’d like to see made to address sexual harassment in the workplace.

In a tweet on Sunday, actress Alyssa Milano suggested women who have been harassed or assaulted write “Me too” as their status to “give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” It’s a very touching and powerful movement, according Sheerine Alemzadeh, a Chicago attorney and co-founder of the Coalition Against Workplace Sexual Violence. In the 24 hours since Milano issued the call, #MeToo had reportedly been tweeted nearly half a million times.

Weinstein, a Hollywood film producer, has been accused by several women of sexual misconduct. He has since been fired, stripped of his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and divorced. However, he has denied “any allegations of non-consensual” sex.

Do you have a “Me, Too” experience to share about sexual harassment? How does this Harvey Weinstein story make you feel about sexual harassment in the workplace? What do you think needs to happen to prevent sexual harassment? Call 1-800-642-1234 or email ideas@wpr.org. You can also tweet us @wprmornings or post on the Ideas Network Facebook page.

Featured in this Show

  • #MeToo Brings Sexual Harassment, Assault To Forefront Of Social Media

    In the wake of dozens of sexual assault accusations against film producer Harvey Weinstein, Hollywood actresses along with men and women across the world took to Twitter and Facebook to share their personal stories using two words: me too.

    The hashtag #MeToo began with a tweet Sunday from actress Alyssa Milano, in which she asked others to identify themselves as survivors of sexual assault or harassment as a way to show solidarity and support.

    By Monday, hundreds of thousands of people said “me too,” and the numbers continue to grow. Millions of people around the world on Twitter have engaged in the conversation. Users of the hashtag hope to illustrate how common sexual abuse is, stop victim blaming narratives and call on men to become more engaged in the conversation.

    Some of the responses using the hashtag focused on reactions to a New York Times op-ed piece by “The Big Bang Theory” actress Miyam Bialik.

    In the piece, Bialik says she has worked to make “conservative choices” and dresses modestly to be insulated from sexual harassment in Hollywood. She portrays her decisions to dress conservatively and avoid flirting as smart choices that have allowed her to avoid being harassed or assaulted.

    Some people read Bialik’s article as an instance of victim-blaming and a perpetuation of the idea that if women dress or look a certain way they will experience harassment and assault, but Bialik has said that her words have been twisted to fit that narrative.

    Although Milano started the conversation with the hashtag, the phrase was coined by activist Tarana Burke over a decade ago. Burke created the Me Too Movement as a way to unify survivors of sexual assault and harassment, and let them know they are not alone. Burke particularly works to help women of color and women in underprivileged communities that lack resources like rape crisis centers.

    Every 98 seconds someone in the United States is sexually assault. And in the U.S., nine out of every 10 people raped are females, according to RAINN — Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an anti-sexual violence organization that works with the Department of Defense.

    Since the accusations have been reported in the media, Weinstein was fired as co-chair of the Weinstein Company’s board on Oct. 8. He resigned from the board several days later. Police departments in New York and London are investigating several assault and rape accusations against him.

    This photo shows actresses, top row from left, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rosanna Arquette, Mira Sorvino and bottom row from left, Rose McGowan, Angelina Jolie Pitt, Asia Argento and Ashley Judd, who are among the many women who have spoken out against Harvey Weinstein in reports detailing claims of sexual abuse. AP Photo/File

Episode Credits

  • Kate Archer Kent Host
  • Bill Martens Producer
  • Sheerine Alemzadeh Guest