In the past few months, an avalanche of sexual harassment allegations has fallen upon big names in media and politics – a list including Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Aziz Ansari and Donald Trump. These are men whose fame and reputation in their respective industries makes it clear to see why speaking out was a difficult thing for their victims to do.
These cases seem to have affirmed something frightening but somewhat known: that to survive in show business, politics, journalism or any heavily publicized profession that is often dominated by men, a woman might have to accept that sexual harassment and misconduct are a part of her career. This is a very sad – but very accurate – reality for women in not just media-focused professions, but also in everyday occupations.
The professions with the most sexual harassment charges from 2005 to 2015, according to a Vox.com article titled "These are the industries with the most reported sexual harassment claims," are accommodation and food services (a low-wage industry dominated by women) at 14.23 percent, with the retail trade not falling far behind, at 13.44 percent.
These statistics essentially show that women are going to be subject to some sort of sexual harassment in their work environment no matter what that environment is. You do not have to be a female politician, a journalist or an actress to be exposed to these things; you just have to be a woman in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong man.
So if a woman is statistically bound to experience sexual harassment or sexual misconduct in some form, regardless of her profession, how can it be stopped – or at least prevented? The solution to that problem is deceptively simple: for women of all socio-economic statuses to continue to fight back against these misogynists in power.
It simply should not be common for women to expect groping in the workplace, or to be inherently frightened of being alone in a room with their male co-workers. Boundaries should be respected regardless of whether the person is a woman or man, or if the extent of the assault is flashing, grabbing, sodomy or rape. Women of all social classes supporting and standing with each other rather than accepting sexual misconduct as a part of being a woman who is a part of the workforce is a big step towards taking down men like Harvey Weinstein.
The Golden Globes were a prime example of women standing up in resistance. Women of all colors, from all backgrounds decided that there would be no more turning a blind eye to sexual misconduct in the workplace, or accepting of it either. All those women wearing black was a way for them to say that the next generation should never hold concerns about what they may have to do to move up in their careers. Whether you clean hotel rooms for a living, do data entry, do hair, or make films, you have just as much right as any man to be respected.