Letter to the Editor | Communities are failing their survivors

By Eleni Kaldis

Nearly every day since the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations have been in the news, dozens of women and men in Hollywood, politics and academia are exposing sexual misconduct incidents.

From the first allegations against Harvey Weinstein to his eventual firing by the board of his company Miramax, Hollywood and other institutions appear to be taking a powerful stance against sexual harassment and assault in the workplace.

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This position has led to 86 public figures being accused of sexual misconduct, according to Time magazine. While Americans are up in arms about these alleged assaults, they are failing the survivors in their own communities. Why? The narrative goes as follows: well-known athlete assaults girl, girl musters up courage to report incident to police, police do not believe her but open investigation anyway, community finds out, community rallies around well-known athlete emphasizing his good character and good family background, girl is blamed by community for her own assault, athlete and girl go to trial, entire community shows up to support athlete, charges dropped, athlete goes on with life as normal, girl is humiliated and criticized by community.

Out of the 86 public figures accused, most have been fired, suspended or resigned. All are under investigation.

Unfortunately, this scenario is not the norm in most communities. Out of every 1,000 assaults, only 310 are reported to police, and only six perpetrators incarcerated, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network.

I am glad that we are holding celebrities accountable, but what about the sexual misconduct by our neighbors and community members who are not famous? Survivors suffer in silence, understanding the narrative above. For the silence to end we need to prove to survivors that perpetrators will be held accountable.

We must condemn perpetrators in our everyday setting by holding them responsible rather than turning a blind eye to their activities.

Eleni is a junior in Social Work.

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