More stories from Anthony Pham

Sexual assault allegations have been exploding all over the news as of recently. With more and more sexual assault survivors coming to the forefront to share their stories, we hear one common question. Why share now? Why not days, weeks, even years ago when the assault occurred? The most common answer is shockingly simple.

“I was scared.” Many sexual assault victims refuse to share their stories in fear of repercussions from the assailant. The most talked about sexual assailant in the news currently is Harvey Weinstein. Many women who were survivors of his sexual advances and rape are now willing to share their stories. Many only feel comfortable now sharing as Harvey Weinstein no longer has the power that he previously did.

Before the accusations came to light, Harvey Weinstein was one of the most powerful film producers in Hollywood. As well as being the co-chairman of The Weinstein Company, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and co-founding Miramax Studios. His power allowed him to scare many females into silence and many stayed silent when it comes to anything involving their sexual abuse. Now that his power has diminished, women finally feel safe to be open about their experience and to finally seek retribution for the assault.

Annabella Sciorra was one of the women assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. She stated that “she had been struggling to speak about Weinstein for more than twenty years. She was still living in fear of him, and slept with a baseball bat by her bed.” Her incident occurred in the early nineteen-nineties and had repeated occurrences over the next few years after.

“I was so scared,” stated Sciorra as she lived in fear after the encounter years later.

As of now, more than fifty women have shared stories and accusations against Weinstein, but many haven’t come forward yet as the stigma and fear of the situation still haunts them today. Many other cases have popped up since as the fear keeping these cases secret is no longer a concern.

These sexual assaults have spurred on a renewed use of the #metoo, which was originally used by activist Tarana Burke over ten years ago. This hashtag allows for survivors to share their stories and to support current and former sexual assault and harassment victims and to show that they are not alone even if they feel as if they are. Many are now willing to share and to report their abusers to the authorities as they feel that they have the support needed to share.

This hashtag is a simple way for those that have been victimized to share their stories and to show that sexual assault victims are everywhere. Survivors everywhere are disclosing their stories as it explodes across social media. A topic like this has never been talked about on this type of scale and as many hope, it reminds the survivors that they are not alone.