THE SEMINOLE NEWSPAPER

TIME’S UP: AWARENESS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT BEGINS NEW MOVEMENT

The+Time%27s+Up+movement%2C+dedicated+to+combating+sexual+assault+in+the+workplace%2C+resonates+among+many+women.
The Time's Up movement, dedicated to combating sexual assault in the workplace, resonates among many women.

The Time's Up movement, dedicated to combating sexual assault in the workplace, resonates among many women.

Mansoor Esfandieyar

Mansoor Esfandieyar

The Time's Up movement, dedicated to combating sexual assault in the workplace, resonates among many women.

Serra Sowers, Photographer

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Reports of sexual harassment and abuse cases have become more prevalent in 2018, with more women sharing their stories and demanding justice. 

Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted sexual behavior or remarks in the workplace. In 2017 alone, over 50 cases of sexual harassment and abuse cases have been reported against public figures, including co-host of the Today Show Matt Lauer, actor Kevin Spacey, and chef Mario Batali. In January of 2018, USA gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar was accused of more than 200 cases of sexual abuse by several gymnasts such as Aly Raisman and Simone Biles.

“I couldn’t imagine the pain in the victims’ faces. Those brave enough to come out should not be condemned, told it was their fault, or be told that it was inevitable,” said senior Adishi Ranjan, a student activist for equal rights.  

The sexual harassment and abuse claims have also been growing in numbers after film director Harvey Weinstein’s case in Oct. 2017. Weinstein was accused of more than a dozen cases of sexual harassment, misconduct, and even rape. This case led to what is known as the “Weinstein effect” where other women began to expose other men of power for abuse or harassment. Many women then started the #MeToo movement for women who have been sexually harassed or abused.

“These movements are empowering. It takes courage and strength for anyone to be open about and share their most mortifying experiences. I salute the brave women who publicize their trauma in hopes of a safer and better world for their current and future sisters. Sexual abusers should feel the wrath of the criminal justice system,” said sophomore Aishwarya Babuji.

Followed by #MeToo, the Time’s Up movement is an organization striving to end inappropriate behavior, injustice, and discrimination in the workplace. Many celebrity figures support this cause including Oprah Winfrey and Reese Witherspoon. Eva Longoria, Meryl Streep, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Hemsworth, and other notable celebrities have publicly showed their support of the Time’s Up movement.

The Golden Globes was one of the first public events that allowed celebrities to show their support for the Time’s Up movement. Many of the attendees wore black as a protest of sexual harassment and abuse in society. Recently in late January, artists that attended the Grammys wore white roses as a symbol of condemning sexual harassment.

However, the Time’s Up movement is more than just fighting sexual misconduct. The organization also wants to battle sexism and racism in the workforce. The Economic Policy Institute reports that women of color are only paid 65 cents to 59 cents per every dollar a white man is paid. Unequal pay for women has existed in the American workplace since 1869 and still continues to this day. According to a CNN news report, the United States is ranked 65th out of 142 countries for equal pay. The average gender pay gap in the United states is 66 percent.

The representation of women in higher level positions in large corporations is also unequally represented. According to the Time’s Up organization, about 50 percent of men think that women are equally represented in leadership positions of large corporations, while only 1 in 10 are actually represented. Fewer than 1 in 30 women of color are represented.

“I hope awareness will increase equality in the workplace and women will stop being seen as an object or an image, but rather a vital part of successful corporations. A person, no matter their gender, should be respected to the utmost degree and be treated with honor,” said Babuji.

On a local level, many girls and women are taking a stand toward equality. Women’s marches against the unequal treatment of women occurred around the country. Many teens are joining the feminist and equal rights movements by voicing their opinions for what they believe is right.

“I take part in intersectional feminism. This includes all people of color, religion, and the LGBTQ community. Despite being told I was too young to partake in [equal rights] things, I feel more comfortable now voicing my opinions and taking other people’s opinions into consideration as well,” said Ranjan.

The Time’s Up movement has brought the national issue of sexual harassment, abuse, inequality, and discrimination to light. Women and men alike will fight to end these issues present in the workplace today and will hopefully prevent it from happening tomorrow. This is not a moment, it’s a movement.

 

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