Twenty-seventeen was a dark year for showbiz. Revelation after revelation showed that the world’s most glamorous industry was plagued by sexism and the widespread abuse of power. By coming forward, victims and survivors of sexual abuse started a movement – one that aims to end sexual harassment, not just in Hollywood, but in every workplace. This movement was reified by Time’s Up, an organisation demanding an end to sexual assault. And now it has the support of Condé Nast and eBay.
For victims and survivors, dealing with sexual harassment is incredibly difficult. It involves putting yourself in the public eye (or at least in front of your peers and colleagues) and, often, accusing a boss or senior figure. This can lead to isolation and stress – which can lead to even darker places, such as depression or anxiety. So it’s important that those who come forward, who are brave enough to fight sexual harassment, are supported. For too long, this has not been the case. And Time’s Up want to change that.
The organisation has created a Legal Defense Fund. The proceeds, which currently stand at over $18 million, will provide subsidised legal support to men and women who have experienced sexual harassment, assault or abuse in the workplace or while in pursuit of their careers. Housed and administered by the National Women’s Law Centre, the fund will help create a network of lawyers and PR professionals who will provide assistance for those who want to stand up to sexual harassment in all its forms.
It’s certainly a worthy cause. And one that now has the explicit backing of eBay and Condé Nast. By auctioning off the black dresses and tuxedos worn by nominees, presenters and attendees of the 75th Golden Globes earlier this month, the companies will raise money for the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund. The stars’ decision to wear black was criticised by some as being a purely symbolic gesture, with no real prospective of changing things. But auctioning the black outfits stifles that criticism: now, those powerful symbols will be turned into money that will directly benefit those affected by sexual harassment.
The auction began last Friday at noon, and many of the items have already received large bids. Also available is a sweepstakes entry which gives anyone who donates over £25 a chance to win three of the luxury outfits. So make sure you get your donations in!
It’s wonderful to see so many powerful figures and organisations taking such a hard stance against sexual harassment. If 2017 was the year we learnt how bad the situation really was, perhaps 2018 will be the year we turn things around. What do you think? Can we put an end to sexual harassment?
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