The news today is filled with more and more women in the Hollywood industry fearlessly stepping up and sharing their stories of sexual assault/harassment in the industry. As young females in the Singaporean society, sexual harassment is relatively foreign to us personally. However, this is a topic we still want to share our opinions and thoughts on this movement. Hollywood is an extremely tough industry to find sustainable work in, even more so as a female. So many 0f the actresses coming up to speak about their experiences regarding the #MeToo Movement were all young, aspiring stars, who were looking only for a way to progress in their careers. At this stage of their careers, these young, talented women were in a position where they would do anything for a breakthrough, including not speaking up about being taken advantage of. Many of these same women were accused of flirting in order to get a breakthrough role, therefore the rapists’ actions were somehow ‘justified’ by their enticements. What the girls have said in response was that they felt powerless, as if this was what they were ‘supposed to do’ in order to get a role. However, no consent was given in almost any of these accounts, therefore, putting it as simply as possible, nothing was supposed to happen, and yet it did.
After many discussions, we have come to the conclusion that breaking someone’s consent in such a vile way is one of the worst crimes that a person can commit. In the U.S., the punishment for a rape charge is a maximum of 20 years in prison. In Singapore, the prison sentence extends from 8-20 years, and a fine not exceeding 10,000 SGD. In the U.S., issues such as the increasing and consistent rape culture are now being spoken about openly, with many news articles and media sharing stories of survivors and working these types of experiences into their content in order to spread awareness and educate those who are unaware of such problematic issues. However in Singapore, while this culture is still very prevalent, accounts of such experiences are purposefully kept in the shadows and therefore go unnoticed. Our exposure to issues surrounding rape in Singapore is very limited, therefore this movement holds great meaning for us. No one should have to experience something as dreadful as sexual assault, not the talented women in Hollywood or anyone else.
Below is a speech by Oprah Winfrey after receiving a Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award. We highly recommend that everyone take some time out of their day to listen to the important points she makes in her speech about similar issues.