Harvey Weinstein’s fall from grace has been the big scandal of the week. And as with every big-scale revelation of sexual harassment (think Bill Cosby), after the initial story breaks, many more victims come out of the woodwork. Like Cara Delevingne, who tells of how Weinstein tried to kiss her in his hotel room. Or Kate Beckinsale, who was greeted by Weinstein in a bathrobe when she was 17. Or like Léa Seydoux, who blatantly says that he was “using his power to get sex”.
It’s great that these allegations have finally come out, and empowered all of these other women to be able to come forward and share their experiences. But there is an overarching problem: the abuse of power. Weinstein was big and powerful; the women he was assaulting were not. He was significantly older and could directly impact their careers. Therefore, it was hard to say no to him (and to report him) – in doing so they were turning down a lot more than sex. The concept of power imbalance here is very similar to that of statutory rape: where the law says that a person not of age cannot legally consent (even if they want to). This law exists to protect minors from being coerced, just like the women were coerced by Weinstein.
So how many more Harveys are there out there? I’m sure that there are many more powerful men who prey on young women and get away with it. In the cases of both Weinstein and Cosby, there were numerous women who had been assaulted and kept quiet. It seems only a matter of time before the next Harvey is revealed, and hopefully, all of his (or her) victims will then feel able to share their stories too. With each and every Harvey outed, hopefully, fewer would-be Harveys will eventuate and more people will speak up when they see something wrong – shifting the culture to a place where things like this cannot happen anymore and we look back with outrage upon the time in which they did.