Hollywood's long history of sexual harassment and assault has recently been the topic of conversation after dozens of women came forward with allegations that Harvey Weinstein sexually harassed and assaulted them. Since the news broke in The New York Times, thousands of women have started talking about their own experiences and demanding the obliteration of America's toxic rape culture.
One of those women is actress Alyssa Milano, who recently revived Tarana Burke's decade-old movement #MeToo. But, getting rid of something that's so embedded in the nation's history isn't easy and unfortunately won't happen overnight. Thankfully, Milano has a few ideas on just how we can all work together in a fight against sexual harassment and violence.
The actress told Entertainment Weekly that, first and foremost, she thinks it's imperative to "shift the focus away from this being just a Hollywood issue," adding that doing so does "a disservice to every single victim who isn't in the entertainment industry."
That's not to say that what's happening in Hollywood isn't important: Simply demonstrating that even the rich and famous get punished for harassment and violence would send a significant message to fans who have for so long assumed that power permits someone to do whatever they want.
Which brings us to her next point. Milano said all funding should be pulled "for any artists accused of wrongdoing in this manner."
"Whether that means Woody Allen, or Roman Polanski, or Harvey Weinstein — that means a zero-tolerance policy," she told EW. Additionally, Milano suggested that the industry start holding studios' board of directors accountable for complicit behavior. This remark comes just days after reports surfaced alleging that executives at the Weinstein Company were privy to multiple allegations against Weinstein, and in some instances, his decision to pay women to stay silent.
This approach, she argued, should also be used in other work environments so that all employees can feel safe reporting harassment and assault without fear of retribution.
"People need to feel they can come forward and they will be listened to and there will be a result," she said. "So often we come forward and nothing is done and it makes us feel like we are screaming into the wind."
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).