There has been a frightening increase of sexual assault allegations in the media. Prominent people, particularly men, have lost their jobs because of allegations of misconduct.
Matt Lauer, NBC’s “Today” host, was recently fired due to reports that he sexually harassed and assaulted multiple women. These allegations include giving a colleague a sex toy with an explicit note as a gift.
CNN also confirmed that it fired senior producer Teddy Davis because three women made complaints about his inappropriate behavior.
The New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman has opened a civil rights investigation against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein has been accused of multiple sexual harassment and misconduct complaints.
Ex-Olympics doctor Larry Nassar has also pleaded guilty to sex charges by multiple former patients — including Olympic gold medalists Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Aly Raisman. These charges are set to put Nassar behind bars for at least 25 years.
The increase in sexual assault cases in the media is frightening. However, the increase in women speaking out about their terrifying experiences can also be seen as a good thing. Not only are more women speaking out against their attackers, but sexual assault hotlines are getting more calls from women seeking help in their time of need.
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network is the largest and most popular anti-sexual assault organization in the United States. Since the recent sexual assault and harassment allegations in the media, there has been a 21 percent increase in calls to the helpline.
“We have seen a record increase in people reaching out to our hotline,” Jodi Omear, the vice-president of communications at RAINN, said in an interview with The Guardian.
Although these helplines are getting more calls by people looking for guidance, more needs to be done to stop sexual assault cases all together. One way this is being done is by the House of Representatives voting on a mandatory sexual harassment training for all members and staff.
Although this is a small step that the House of Representatives is taking, it should be a step that all employers implement and take seriously. There have been far too many sexual assault allegations, and although assaulters know they are wrong for what they are doing, it is important for employers to show their commitment to keep the workplace a safe place for its employees.