Arts & Entertainment, Opinion

Weinstein case, an important reminder

(Revised, Updated 5 Nov. 2018, first published in The Bison 8 Nov. 2017)

Roughly a year after the sexual assault allegations against Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein hit the mainstream news, the arts world is still feeling the after effects.

Harvey Weinstein has been one of the most influential men in Hollywood, as the (now former) executive of Miramax.

His name shows in the credits of numerous films and television shows including: Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Shakespeare In Love, and The King’s Speech.

According to the BBC, the New York Times published an article on Oct. 5, 2017 “detailing decades of allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein.”

The L.A. Times reported the Motion Picture Academy voted to remove Weinstein from their membership less than a week after the New York Times article was published.

By the start of Nov. 2017, the number of accusations against him had mounted to the dozens.

On Nov. 3 2017, L.A. Times published a piece that quoted NYPD chief of detectives, Robert Boyce saying that if Weinstein were in New York and the case wasn’t about events from 7 years prior, they would have considered the evidence they had as enough to arrest Weinstein.

According to CNN, in May 2018, “Weinstein turn[ed] himself in to authorities and [was] arrested, charged with rape, committing a criminal sex act, sexual abuse and sexual misconduct.”

But a year later, it now seems that the case against Weinstein may be dismissed.

According to an Associated Press article published by NBC last Monday, “The former Hollywood producer’s attorneys singled out police Detective Nicholas DiGaudio — whose alleged witness coaching led prosecutors to abandon part of the case last month — as they renewed their push to have five remaining counts dismissed.”

Unfortunately, stories like this are not uncommon, not only in the arts but on college campuses.

According to RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), almost 1 of 4 undergraduate women, and more than 1of 20 undergraduate men, have experienced rape or sexual assault.

“Only 20% of female student victims, age 18-24, report to law enforcement,” RAINN reports.

The percentage of reported cases that result in charges and convictions are even lower.

However, as bleak as these statistics sound and are, these situations are not hopeless.

Many universities have policies in place in an effort to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment and to protect their students and employees.

Oklahoma Baptist University’s protective policies can be found in the student handbook, The Green Book.

Numerous resources are available to students, both for their protection, and to help students who have experienced sexual assault find hope and healing.

These resources include the OBU Campus Police 405.878.6000; the Shawnee Police 911 or 405.273.2121.

The Kemp Marriage and Family Therapy clinic is another source for students.

According to OBU’s Green Book, “[University Counseling] offers free, confidential services for students at any time during the recovery process.”

The counseling office can be contacted by phone at 405.585.5260

Other campus resources include the Dean of Students office 405.585.5250, Campus Nurse, 405.585.5263 and the Title IX Coordinator, Mike Johnson 405.585.5130.

National resources for prevention and help are also available to the OBU community, including the National Sexual Assault Hotline, 800.656.HOPE; and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.

Project Safe is a local non-profit organization that also offers assistance to and resources.

According to their webpage, “We provide services to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and staking to men, women, and children.”

The ongoing Harvey Weinstein investigation serves as an important reminder of why sexual assault prevention is necessary, and that even in the darkest of places, there can still be hope.

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