Morning television is shaking ove the firings of NBC's Matt Lauer and CBS' Charlie Rose. And the discussion of sexual harassment and worse in the workplace, has moved from the backrooms to family rooms.
WPTV has extensively covered the national movement when it comes to victims coming forward with sexual assault cases against high-profile celebrities. The accusations against Hollywood director Harvey Weinstein even inspired a hashtag on social media called #MeToo, which inspired men and women to speak out against sexual misconduct and share personal experiences.
We wanted to know how all generations are reacting to this seismic change in our country, so we set up a dry-erase board in downtown West Palm Beach with the question: As a man or woman, describe the sexual assault awareness movement in one or two words.
“I have two words, can I write ‘About Time?’”said one woman. “They shouldn’t have been hiding it all this time. They should’ve been speaking for themselves.I think a lot of people just hid it under the rug and obviously it worked for some people to get where they wanted to be to get in their careers, but I guess now is the time to speak out!"
A woman named Alicia chose the word 'inspiring'.
"Because I think this is something that has been going on for so long, with men in power positions taking advantage of people," she said. "I hate to say it, but it’s not surprising anymore and that’s the unfortunate thing. Unfortunately it happens all the time but the fact that awareness is being raised for the issue and people are coming up and speaking out, I think it’s great."
Responses from men we surveyed ranged from 'overkill' to 'awful'.
“I believe it’s awful for anybody to be subjected to that," said one man. “Words don’t consist as an assault physically but emotionally and mentally, it can wear down on someone."
One woman named Amber chose the word 'scary'.
“It’s also sad that it took so long for this kind of awareness and for people to show this kind of recognition," she said. “With social media, everybody is just feeling like they can find their voice. With so many branches for people to get connected with, I’m sure they were able to find a large group of people that were feeling affected by the same person or same circumstance."
One man chose the word 'lustful' to point out what he says is a sickness that some people dealing with.
“They’re battling lust, they’re battling something that they probably don’t know that they’re battling, that they might think it’s normal but it's not," he said.
Another man chose the word, 'despicable.'
“It just makes me cringe,” he said. “It's obvious there are people that are abusing their power and taking advantage of others. I would hope that it’s not actually happening and that it’s just a witch hunt but too many people have come out."
He added, "It's a shame that they felt that way but luckily its been turning around. Victims are no longer victims but are instead empowered to go after those who have committed these heinous acts."
And that’s why one man we spoke to named Stephan chose 'sporadic'.
“It's all been happening so often. And at a really weird time. I don’t think that it’s not justified, I just feel like it’s just all in our face now and it’s all we’re hearing about," he said.
But his friend thinks that’s a good thing.
“I’m going to write 'continuously exposed',” he said. “I feel like the more that people expose people that are doing this, the more comfortable everyone else will feel to do the same thing.”
“Good things and bad things are gonna happen to everybody," another man added. "It’s not what happens to you — it’s what you do about it afterwards."