More than 40 women have come forward to tell their stories of harassment and sexual assault at the hands of former film executive Harvey Weinstein. The accusations span more than three decades, and undoubtedly, more survivors will gather the courage to break their silence.
But every woman watching and listening knows that he is only the tip of the iceberg. The entertainment industry is rife with sexual predators seeking to use their power for gratification. Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, wants to change that. At Elle's Woman in Hollywood Event, Kennedy proposed a commission that would develop "industry-wide protections against sexual harassment and abuse."
Kennedy, widely considered the most powerful woman in Hollywood, outlined the commission in detail last Monday, saying it should be fully funded by the film industry:
"This commission should be composed of specialists in labor and management practices, lawyers and legal scholars, sociologists, psychologists, feminists, activists, and theorists, as well as people who work in film and television. The commission should be fully funded by our industry in order to address the task at hand in a thorough-going, comprehensive fashion. The goal of this commission would be to transform our industry in regards to sexual harassment and abuse in the workplace. We must make the film industry an exemplar in this regard, a model for self-regulation that other businesses can emulate.
"Because of course, this kind of abuse is epidemic. In every sector of industry and throughout our society, and we have to act to change that. We should have acted long ago. We must act now. I believe that with determination, hard work, a willingness to act, and a recognition of the urgency of immediate action, it is absolutely possible to protect people from sexual terrorism in their places of employment."
Most women have encountered some type of sexual harassment, whether it's on the job or on the street. Sexual vultures don't hide in the dark and creep out at night; they walk among us in the daylight with congenial smiles and hearty handshakes. To look at them, you would not know they are animals. So a commission would have its hands full, but it's a place to start as long as the members of that commission are willing to listen and take action.