To combat sexual harassment, men must hold peers accountable

Pratiksha Parulekar, Associate Views Editor

Harvey Weinstein’s name has been prominent in the media for the last couple of weeks after a multitude of women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. While there was overwhelming support for his alleged victims, many high-profile actresses also faced criticism for not coming forward with the truth earlier. Free from criticism, however, were the men in the film industry, who had known about this “open secret” all along — men who are trying to be allies of harassed women yet stay silent when their friends are the perpetrators.

Ben Affleck recently personified the conveniently “woke” male ally cliché when he expressed his disgust at Weinstein on a public platform. This is the same Ben Affleck who famously stayed mum when his brother was accused of sexual harassment. This is the same Ben Affleck who apparently knew about Weinstein’s actions all along. This is the same Ben Affleck who had conveniently forgotten about his own misconduct with Hilarie Burton.

To all the Ben Afflecks of the world, if you want to be an actual ally to victims of sexual harassment, stop protecting your friends. Being sexually harassed is the farthest from convenient, and you do not get to conveniently withdraw your support just because you know the person who was committing the heinous act.

Despite the endless list of “open secrets” of Hollywood, people around us were genuinely disgusted by Weinstein’s actions. We saw the support on social media and experienced the discussions in our gender studies classes. What we failed to take notice of, however, were these men, who had just spoken so passionately about curbing rape culture, giving a free pass to their “bros” for inappropriately touching someone without their consent outside The Boot Bar & Grill or for doing something much worse.

If this description sounds eerily familiar, chances are you are the convenient male ally of your group. And if you are looking to remove the “convenient” from that title, start by calling out your friends for every microaggression and act of sexual misconduct. You cannot be both an ally to victims of sexual harassment and an ally to their harassers. Pick a side, and reprimand and report the behavior of others. For the sake of humanity, choose to continue being an ally to the victims of sexual assault.

This is an opinion article and does not reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo. Pratiksha is a sophomore at Newcomb-Tulane College. She can be reached at [email protected].

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