Celebrity Sexual Assault Allegations: Does it Help Awareness or Not?

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BY LYDIA WIGHT

Staff Reporter   

  Allegations of sexual assault against famed producer Harvey Weinstein have inspired women to come forward with allegations of misconduct against other big names in Hollywood. The treatment of sexual assault allegations and its victims is now being discussed nationwide, according to Time Magazine.

An Oct. 5 New York Times investigation by Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor first exposed sexual harassment allegations against Mr. Weinstein dating back to 1990. Actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie were among the victims.

Former Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick, House of Cards star Kevin Spacey, comedian Louis C.K., and actor Brett Ratner are some of the Hollywood stars being accused of sexual assault and/or harassment, according to Time Magazine.

“It’s ironic how in Gossip Girl, Ed Westwick’s character rapes another character,” said senior Laurel Mason. “His actions are despicable and it makes me never want to watch the show again. I hope the victims can move forward with their lives.”

“I am surprised that celebrities are being accused of assault,” said senior Kaitlyn Gilberg. “We don’t usually expect celebrities to be the ones doing stuff like that. I think they should be treated the same as regular people and it should be taken just as seriously, if someone else were to be accused of sexual assault.”

The New York Times report also included the many actions from Weinstein’s reps to keep the story under wraps. Both journalists and victims were encouraged to stay silent.

“I’m a big fan of Gossip Girl, so I was surprised to find out that Ed Westwick was accused of rape,” said senior Stephanie Miller. “It is so easy to assume that celebrities are good people, but they’re just as capable of doing terrible things. The whole thing just makes me so sad, but it’s good that it got out so he can be stopped.”

Since Weinstein’s history of sexual assault came to light, he has been fired from his company. He has denied every allegation of non-consensual sex, according to Time Magazine.

“I’m so happy that Harvey Weinstein is finally facing repercussions for his actions,” said senior Kylie Elimanco. “So often, perpetrators get away with it and victims are blamed. The way to solve the problem of sexual assault is making sure that victims of sexual assault are treated with respect.”

“I appreciate the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past has caused a lot of pain, and I sincerely apologize for it,” said Weinstein in a statement to the New York Times.

“I think the worst part is Weinstein’s apology statement,” said sophomore Emily Singleton. “He clearly shows no remorse for his actions. I also recently saw Louis C.K.’s apology letter, which received a lot of backlash on Twitter. He actually did not even use the word ‘sorry’ in the entire paper. I’m so disappointed because I was a fan of his before this story came out.”

1 in 6 women have been a victim of a rape or an attempted rape, according to RAINN.

“Sexual assault is a huge issue on college campuses, and oftentimes goes unnoticed,” said senior Serina Capuano. “It is so important that victims feel comfortable speaking out, so I think its good that the topic is being discussed in the media. Young women won’t be as scared to report sexual violence if they don’t feel so alone.”

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