This watershed moment in acknowledging and acting on allegations of sexual harassment has rightfully extended beyond Hollywood, but there's a reason we're still calling it The Weinstein Effect. Now, advocacy group Women in Film (WIF) is taking steps to ensure victims in the entertainment industry continue to be heard.
Today they launched a help line — available at (323) 545-0333 Monday through Friday, 10am-5pm PST — for harassment victims in the entertainment world of any gender. The line is aimed at helping survivors decide the path forward for them, and, if they choose it, provides a pro bono legal aid panel, as well as resources for connecting callers with mental health counselors, law enforcement, and both civil and criminal litigators.
"The Hollywood chartph.community has been seeking a central 'safe zone' for victims of harassment to seek help and speak out," their announcement reads. And, as a group that's always been at the forefront of the battle to end discrimination and gender inequality in the industry, WIF seems like a natural fit to spearhead the movement.
WIF executive director Kirsten Schaffer said that they've been overwhelmed with calls ever since the story broke on Weinstein.
“We are hearing that victims feel isolated, that there is nowhere safe to go to tell their stories, that they believe they must keep their experiences silent or they will be sued or black-balled and that they feel helpless, fearing the legal costs of trying to do anything about what has happened to them," she said.
The team hopes that the help line will give the most vulnerable victims somewhere to turn, and capitalize on the current momentum to push for the long-lasting, systemic change that organizations like WIF have been fighting for since the beginning.