‘Floodgates Are Opening’ as Allegations Against Powerful Men Reveal Scope of Sexual Assault and Harassment

by Jake Johnson –

“Every sexual predator in every walk of professional life is—and should be—nervous that they will be exposed by this uprising.”

As a slew of powerful and influential men—from former President George H.W. Bush to MSNBC political analyst Mark Halperin to filmmaker James Toback—are facing hundreds of new sexual assault and harassment accusations in the aftermath of the explosive and horrifying Harvey Weinstein revelations, activists and commentators are increasingly coming to believe that something of a “culture-rattling revolution” is underway, one that many hope will change the way such behavior is perceived, discussed, and addressed in the United States and around the world.

“There is Harvey Weinstein-like behavior in every industry,” wrote Buzzfeed journalist Alex Berg. “The floodgates are just opening up.”

“Harvey Weinstein will go down as an historic figure, just not for the reasons he assumed,” added Axios‘s Mike Allen. “His outing as a sexist, dangerous pig triggered an uprising rarely seen: Abused women feel liberated to bring down powerful men in government, media, tech, politics, business and pop culture.… Every sexual predator in every walk of professional life is—and should be—nervous that they will be exposed by this uprising.”

The feeling that a massive dam has broken has been echoed in recent days by long-time activists, as allegations and accounts of sexual harassment and assault continue to pour in from all angles, seemingly by the hour.

When asked by MSNBC‘s Chris Hayes in a segment Wednesday night to characterize the present moment—which has prompted thousands of women to come forward with their experiences in a wide variety of personal and professional contexts—actress and activist Jane Fonda said she believes the U.S. has finally reached “tipping point.”

“It feels different. It feels like something has shifted,” Fonda observed. “It’s too bad that it’s probably because so many of the women that were assaulted by Harvey Weinstein are famous and white and everybody knows them. This has been going on a long time to black women and other women of color and it doesn’t get out quite the same.”

Prominent feminist Gloria Steinem agreed that a fundamental shift seems to be taking place, but highlighted the fact that there is “still a critical mass of bias in this country” that allows sexist and racist behavior to persist.

“If you steal money, you probably get arrested and convicted, because everybody says stealing is wrong,” Steinem said. “But if you do something that is very sexist or racist, because there still is a critical mass of bias in this country, it takes more cumulative instances for it to be recognized. So we have reached a tipping point I think.”

 

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Reprinted with permission from Common Dreams