Arts, Culture & Lifestyle

Hollywood's women band together to fight sexual assault

Hollywood's biggest actresses, writers, producers and more join hands to say "Time's Up!" to sexual harassment.

Over 300 actresses, writers, directors and producers from film and theatre have banded together to support a new organisation that helps women and men who have suffered from sexual harassment and abuse. 

Time's Up – started by lawyers Nina Shaw and Tina Tchen and supported by stars like Reese Witherspoon, Cate Blanchett, America Ferrera and producer Shonda Rhimes – announced their launch with a full-page 'Letter of Solidarity' in The New York Times on January 1st.Titled 'Dear Sisters,' the letter addresses the abuse scandals surrounding former Hollywood heavyweights like Harvey Weinstein and Louis CK, and the systemic issue of men's voices automatically gaining dominance over women's in the workplace. 

While it would be easy for privileged film stars to take note of their own plight and ignore that of those in more normal occupations, Time's Up exists to help women and men across all lines of work.

In fact, the organisation itself was inspired by a letter from 700,000 women farm workers, who voiced their own upset at the Hollywood situation and how familiar it sounded to their industry. It's clear that this issue affects more than just one subsection of society – it's an epidemic. 

"The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It's time to do something about it."

The organisation has set up a fund, currently sitting at $13 million, that can be used by men and women who have suffered sexual assault in the workplace to fund legal representation.

It also formally announces the planned protest at this year's Academy Awards, asking all women and men to wear black in an effort to raise awareness of the situation in Hollywood.

"The clock has run out on sexual assault, harassment and inequality in the workplace. It's time to do something about it," reads the most prominent line on Time's Up's homepage.

As we venture into another year of domineering, often ugly male voices, perhaps 2018 will be the historical moment that these men are held accountable – and punished – for their words and actions.

For more information on Time's Up and what you can do if you've suffered or witnessed sexual assault, head to the organization's homepage www.timesupnow.com.

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