The fact that sexual assault and harassment are major problems in our culture has become abundantly clear over the past several months. However, we’re still trying to process the sobering results of a recent study that found that 94% of women in the entertainment industry have experienced some form of sexual assault or harassment.
The study was published by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center in conjunction with The Creative Coalition, Women in Film and Television. It surveyed 843 women from the coalition in an online survey between December 14th and January 14th. The women held a wide range of roles in the industry, including producers, actors, writers, directors, and editors.
A reported 87% of respondents indicated that the majority of the incidents included sexual comments, jokes, and touching, while 69% reported being touched in a sexual way. Further, 64% were propositioned for sexual activity in the workplace, and 21% were forced to perform a sexual act. The harassment or assault was often inflicted by an older individual in a position of power.
What’s even more difficult to stomach is that only one in four women felt comfortable reporting their experiences, fearing personal or professional backlash. Not to mention only 28% of women said their work situation improved after the incident was reported. Meanwhile, 32% of women said their harasser received zero repercussions after they were reported, and 0% of cases lead to prosecution. Finally, 24% of the women who said they’d been harassed said it ultimately caused them to leave the workplace.
Perhaps the one silver lining in these disturbing results is that women under 30 are more likely to report harassment over any other age group. This hopefully means that the tides are changing and that women will report more incidents as time goes on (however, it should also be noted that the rate of women who report in the under-30 age bracket was still quite low at 9-16%).
Let these numbers serve as a reminder that we still have a long way to go in this fight, and that we need to support victims of sexual assault and harassment with every resource we have.