The world is full of Harvey Weinsteins. Here is how to stop them.


Kimberly Wilson, Opinion Editor


Once one of the most venerated men in Hollywood, the credits on Harvey Weinstein’s career have now rolled. The Hollywood powerhouse film producer rose to dominance in the industry since co-founding both The Weinstein Company and Miramax, both of which have produced several popular films such as 1994’s Pulp Fiction and Clerks. Weinstein’s reign came screeching to a halt in recent days when several women began accusing the film producer of sexual harassment and assault. Since then, Weinstein lost his job and high profile actors like Meryl Streep and Mark Ruffalo condemned him. There’s long been a culture of powerful men being able to sexually harass women in the workplace and get away with it, and not just in Hollywood. Looking the other way when faced with this unacceptable behavior has been the norm for too long and we must work to put a stop to it.  

After a New York Times piece containing allegations from multiple women stirred this story, it didn’t take long for several other women, including famous actresses Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow, to all give their damning accounts. With Weinstein’s fall from grace coming so swiftly after the flurry of allegations against him surfaced, why did it take years for these women to speak out?  

In a Newsweek article written by Marie Solis, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commision reported it “received 28,000 sexual harassment complaints from employees working for private or government employers in 2015.” The article goes on to state that the agency also found “roughly three out of four people who experience sexual harassment fail to report it, largely due to fear of victim-blaming or retaliation.” Even when cases are reported, many of the times no solution is ever reached. Solis’ article also says 52 percent of sexual harassment cases reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission were dismissed because there wasn’t enough “reasonable cause to believe that discrimination occurred.”

The fact is, many women don’t come forward because they don’t think anything good will happen if they do. The culture in too many workplaces is discreet tolerance of bosses sexually harassing women. Everybody knows it happens, but know one does anything to stop it. Too many women are afraid that if they were to speak out, their reputations and careers would be ruined by these powerful men who have the means to make it happen. Not to mention, no one would believe them anyway. If these abhorrent cases are to ever cease, powerful men must be held accountable for their actions in the workplace. There needs to be a better processes for women to come forward. They need to feel their complaints will not be dismissed or ignored without proper investigation.  

COD has made it clear that any type of harassment in the workplace will not be tolerated. All employees must complete online courses in discrimination and harassment and ethics and code of conduct prevention. That’s an example all employers should follow, especially when they employ young workers who may be in positions of authority some day or benefit from the wisdom of knowing what to do when victimized in their future careers.

Though this recent controversy surrounding Harvey Weinstein has brought attention to the plight of what many women endure in the workplace, more must be done to prevent powerful men from abusing that power. The onus is on companies and industries to prioritize providing all their employees with a safe and secure working environment by doing away with the culture of silence. After all, Weinstein’s fall is the perfect example that it only takes one spark to start a fire.