Silenced by Guilt and Fear

Nathalie Sibal, Co-Copy Editor

In early October, The New Yorker and The New York Times published articles that contained several stories about film producer Harvey Weinstein’s alleged sexual assault or harassment towards actresses. These stories have inspired other victims to speak up about their experiences after years of keeping them hidden.


Dozens of women were interviewed about their experiences with Weinstein. A recurring pattern with most of these stories is that they feared his power. They were worried about their careers and the possible damage the movie executive could bring to them. With a few emails and phone calls, he could have easily destroyed all the hard work actresses put into their careers. The powerful executive creates an unfair situation where he know he has the upper hand. Knowing very well it could put their dreams on the line, the majority stayed silent.


Some of the victims even felt disgusted with themselves. Lucia Evans, an aspiring actress who was assaulted by Weinstein in 2004, felt overpowered during the incident. She put the event in the back of her mind and tried to forget about it. She could not bring herself to tell others because of guilt. Evans convinced herself it was her fault for not fighting back. She blamed herself, not the one who attacked her.

Inspired by these stories, other victims have shared their experiences on Twitter using the hashtag #MeToo. These accounts showed how common sexual assault is in our society. It can happen to anyone. It can happen anywhere. However, people tend to invalidate these events. One Twitter user even had other users calling her a coward and an attention seeker for sharing her story. These comments deeply disturbed me. Victims should not be insulted, especially since they were all brave enough to share their stories in the first place.


Men began to share their own stories, showing that sexual assault does not only happen to women. Using social media as their platform, they spoke up about the factors that prevent them from telling their story. Society’s view of masculinity was one of the top reasons why they hesitated to speak up. The world we live in expects men to be emotionless, which forces them to uphold a mask. These men kept their trauma hidden to avoid being mocked at by the people they know. They would have been teased for showing emotion. However, the stories shared by other victims have began to encourage more men to open up about their experiences.


With all these survivors coming forward about their stories, numerous people, especially on social media, have begun to show nothing but love and support. These narratives, however, show how common sexual assault is in our world. We need to stop turning a blind eye to this issue and start taking it more seriously. Stop calling victims liars and attention seekers. Listen to them. Let them speak. They do not deserve to be silenced.