I knew this was the moment that would change everything. After staring out into a the sea of iconic faces filled with tears and emotion at the 2016 Oscars, when I turned back and locked eyes with with @ladygaga, we silently communicated a million thoughts and words to each other. It was my the greatest moment of triumph and liberation ever and I knew that there were so many more of us, that those shedding tears were doing it for themselves even more so than for the 51 survivors on that stage. This was only the beginning.
Within minutes, I felt the impact in a tangible way as my phone erupted with screen shots of our performance of “Til It Happens To You,” the Emmy winning and Oscar nominated song Gaga and Diane Warren wrote for our film @theHuntingGround, making news headlines from as far as China denouncing physical and sexual violence against women, girls, children and yes, men, too.
The unprecedented and collective shedding of shame we are now witnessing in Hollywood, on our social media feeds by friends and family and our culture in general is the personification of bravery, courage and what it looks like to stand in our truth and power. I could not be more proud of all that is being done to create space, not only for Harvey Weinstein’s survivors to be heard and seen, but for survivors all around the world to be heard and seen. Over the last 24 hours, women (and men) are posting 4 tweets per second with #MeToo to show the breadth of this silent, hidden epidemic. This is how we change culture. This is how we make it better for generations to come. This is what I have dedicated my life to. This is what I promised each of my daughters and their friends to change. This is why I chose to have that light shine bright on my face. Make no small plans.
We see you all and we all stand with you, locked arm in arm and applaud your heroism. We believe you.
Sexual harassment and violence against women and children is a global epidemic. One in 3 women in the world are raped, beaten or murdered. The more I speak about this, the more of my male friends come foreword with their own stories of abuse. 1 in 6 men is a survivor sexual abuse. This crisis has no political affiliation, nor does it discriminate by race or economic bracket, or education or religion. Abuse in our culture exists in every corner. It lives in churches, temples; on military bases; in preschools and all the way up through college campuses; it exists in our workplaces, in back alleys, in Hollywood and in our living rooms and bedrooms. Regardless of whether your name is Nicole Brown Simpson, or Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Rose McGowan, or Julie Smolyansky, if you are a 14-year-old in the slums of Bangladesh or a 21-year-old sophomore at Harvard, an executive in Silicon Valley, violence can touch you at any time.
And it needs to stop. It exists because for centuries, survivors have been blamed and carry the shame for their perpetrators. It exists because of a culture which has raised boys and men to feel entitled to the bodies of girls and women objectified by media and society for decades, a hyper masculine patriarchal culture which has failed to put blame where it needs to sit. With perpetrators. It exists because we fail to teach young men not to rape. Instead we teach girls what not to wear, what not to drink and where not to go and the hours. deemed “safe” to conduct her life in the outside world. We need men to stand up and be better role models for other men, and to denounce this behavior and to intervene when they see it happening. Sexual assault, rape and harassment is a violation of human rights. Today 80,000,000 American women silently navigate and process what this violation of rights means to them and the impact it has in their lives. We are your friends, wives, mothers, grandmothers, daughters, sisters, co-workers, employees, bosses, mentors. But more than that, we are the 51% of the population you share this earth with. It should outrage every human.
The more people who feel liberated and safe enough to come out — the brighter the light we can shine on the subject and the more we can improve the climate for generations to come.
I’m nauseated to say that @theHuntingGround, a film which highlights the cover-up of rape on college campus, was ironically distributed by Harvey Weinstein. As one of the executive producers of the film, we are demanding any money made by him as a result be donated to rape crisis centers and organizations like our @test400korg, all of which operate in great scarcity on shoestring budgets and yet are vital components of prevention programs and survivor response efforts. (Much gratitude to the Motion Picture Academy for renouncing this serial predator.)
Lastly if you are a perpetrator of such a crime and feel inclined to apologize for your actions, it is best to focus on the person you are apologizing to, and not so much on your personal agony you feel from the fallout of your entitlement and criminal acts. I assure you, the survivors are dealing with significantly more.