Every woman and girl in the world has witnessed, and most likely experienced, sexual harassment in many environments.
Since these acts are crimes, most people can agree that when someone harasses and assaults a co-worker, the perpetrator should lose their job instead of being promoted.
This was the opposite on Sunday night, as the world watched Casey Affleck receive the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Affleck has a long history of misogyny and violence, from making countless aggressive advances towards producer Amanda White as well as inappropriately touching her while on set for the documentary “I’m Still Here.”
Actress Magdalena Gorka testified that while staying overnight at Joaquin Phoenix’s apartment to film the documentary, Affleck came into her bed intoxicated and groped her in her sleep.
Both of these women took Affleck to court in 2010 and were eventually settled.
The response to his award win was negative,
as people spoke up online in disgust of Affleck; the the protest that became most popular was Brie Larson’s.
This is the second time she had to present Affleck an award, and both times she refused to applaud his win.
Larson is well known for her volunteer work for sexual assault victims, as well as her Oscar-winning performance in Room, a film where she played a rape victim.
Among most of those who saw Brie Larson stand up to Casey Affleck, I was awestruck by her silent resistance to an epidemic.
We live in a world where we are conditioned to accept and ignore sexual assault and harassment, as well as anyone who has been affected by these acts.
Joking about rape is just “locker room talk” and considered acceptable speech from our president; sexual harassment is “boys being boys” and something women have been taught to keep quiet in the face of; a prepubescent girl being cat called by grown men is treated like a rite of passage for girls.
If adults in our world keep raising girls who are afraid to speak up and boys who treat the female body like their property, we will continue to raise men like Casey Affleck.
In twenty years, men who have been to court for assaulting the women around them will still be awarded for their talents.
The only way to end this is to stop normalizing this kind of behavior. We need to stop tolerating rape jokes, ignoring sexual harassment, and minimizing the experiences of victims.
Now, it’s more important than ever to stand up and say that sexual assault is not normal and not okay.