The balance of power is shifting in Hollywood with actresses who have long been forced into silence or vilified for speaking up now banding together. The silence around Harvey Weinstein has has ended and since then he has been:

  1. Sacked from his company
  2. His wife has left him
  3. Lisa Bloom (his advisor) has resigned
  4. His own brother has denounced him
  5. The academy has revoked his membership

The thing that saddened me is I used to love Rose McGowan in Charmed, it was for a long time one of my favourite shows. About that time, I DO remember reading that:

  1. She was not a nice person
  2. She was demanding
  3. She was hard to get along with
  4. As an actress, co-workers were sick of her excessive demands.

I DON’T remember reading

  1. She had been rape or sexually assaulted by a producer
  2. That there had been a financial settlement
  3. That it was movie heavyweight Harvey Weinstein who was the producer in question.

That is sad but unsettling for me, I simply choose to believe what was said about Rose McGowan.

His predatory behaviour was about power and control. He knew he could get away with it. He enjoyed the humiliation and degradation felt by his victims.

It would be nice to believe this behaviour is just a Hollywood problem, but it knows no boundaries it affects every industry.

Although, nobody and I mean nobody is responsible for any abuse but the perpetrator; we need to recognise our role in our own lives and workplaces.

The way I see it there are five roles we can play and the good thing is we get to choose if we are fortunate enough to one, two three or five.

  1. Perpetrator – yes this behaviour is a choice.
  2. Enabler – those who actively cover up, encourage and dismiss the victims claims of abuse.
  3. Bystanders – those who are close to what is going on. They are unaware for sure, but they also choose not to ask questions.
  4. Victim – this is never a choice. Nobody deserves to be abused. No But’s
  5. Supporter – Those who are there for the victim, to help them, listen to them, believe them and give support. Speaking out against  abuse

In your own life which role to fill.

If the answer to that is I don’t know anyone in an abusive relationship or anyone who is being bullied or harassed at work. Maybe, just maybe you are the bystander. Have a look around you?

Because the more of us who shift to being supporters, the less those who CHOOSE to stay as perpetrators will get away with their unacceptable behaviour.

Speaking out about abuse publicly is hard, I know from personal experience. But we must speak out if we are to continue to shift the power away from those who use their power and control to abuse others.

This starts with ending the silence which surrounds harassment and abuse.