Sexual Harassment and The #MeToo Movement

Posted on: June 21, 2019

One viral tweet in 2017 would go on to change the way we look at how women and some men in the workplace are treated. This tweet eventually propelled a movement that resonated all around the world and across all kinds of platforms. Because of this, the whole world learned about the harsh reality women face on a daily basis. This movement was dubbed The #MeToo Movement, and it shone a spotlight on the magnitude of sexual harassment in the workplace.

What You Should Know About Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment has naturally been one of the most talked-about topics in all kinds of social media platforms, but what exactly constitutes a sexual harassment case? According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), sexual harassment happens when an individual is subjected to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may also include offensive jokes, slurs, name-calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, mockery, ridicule, insults, sending offensive pictures, and interference with work performance.

The Different Types of Sexual Harassment

Acts of sexual harassment can be divided into three categories:

  • Verbal Harassment – This form of harassment happens when your employer or co-worker initiates sexually suggestive name-calling, tells obscene jokes or consistently comments inappropriate remarks about what you are wearing.
  • Physical Harassment – This form of harassment occurs when your employer or co-worker makes inappropriate physical contact despite you warding him or her off. Unwelcome groping, kisses, and other excuses to brush any part of their body towards yours are also forms of physical harassment.
  • Visual Harassment – This happens when your employer or co-worker shows you sexual or sexually suggestive images or videos that are not related to work at all like pornographic magazines or Internet porn.

Statistics Regarding Sexual Harassment

In a recent national survey, 13 percent of women and 5 percent of men in the workforce have reported against quid pro quo sexual harassment. Although these numbers may not seem to be alarming, it is essential to note that victims of such abuse file complaints only 30 percent of the time, as cited by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This is primarily due to their fear of retaliation from their employer and being put in a difficult spot when it comes to their careers if they go public with their allegations.

Public spaces have been the most common area where people experience sexual harassment. This is according to a 2018 survey commissioned by Stop Street Harassment that showed how 65% of American women admit to having been sexually harassed in the streets. According to the same survey, 77% of the women and 44% of the men experienced verbal sexual harassment. 51% of the women were subjected to inappropriate touching, further showing how sexual harassment continues to torment various people today.

What is The #MeToo Movement?

The #MeToo movement started when American actress Alyssa Milano published a tweet saying that more people should pay more attention to incidents and allegations of sexual harassment. The tweet read, “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted, write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.” What happened next was a worldwide exposé of sexual misconduct committed by wealthy and influential personalities, particularly in the entertainment industry. It was because of this tweet that the floodgates began to open up regarding allegations of sexual harassment from all over the world.

One scandal that was talked about the most was the allegations directed towards Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein is a Hollywood producer who has produced several world-renowned independent films and co-founded popular entertainment company Miramax. He has acquired Academy and Tony awards and even co-founded a mini-major film studio called The Weinstein Company. It turns out that throughout this decorated career, Weinstein abused his power to take advantage of various women in the industry.

The allegations from women range from harassment to more severe cases like rape. These cases include stories and accounts from more than 80 women over the span of several decades. One of Weinstein’s victims was Ashley Judd who worked with the New York Times to publish a story detailing the numerous accusations against Weinstein. Other high-profile victims include actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie.

As a result, Weinstein was fired by The Weinstein Company and ousted from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. The Directors Guild of America, the Producers Guild of America and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts eventually distanced themselves from him as well. These acts were all in the spirit of sending a message to the public that having a sexually predatory behavior should never be tolerated.

Hire a Sexual Harassment Lawyer in Los Angeles

The #MeToo movement is a testament as to how rampant sexual harassment and assault are in modern society. It can happen to anyone regardless of sex, gender, and his or her profession or place in society. If you are being harassed in any way, don’t hesitate to speak up and seek immediate legal assistance from experienced sexual harassment attorneys today. They will provide you with all the help that you will need to put your offender in place and award you with the justice you rightfully deserve. We at Mesriani Law Group boast a roster of season sexual harassment lawyers who can help you in the pursuit for justice. Call our office now and get a free consultation.