Sexual harassment is common–and yet, we hardly ever talk about it, whether it’s in person, online, or reporting it when it happens (especially in the workplace). This is why David Schwimmer (my favorite actor from “Friends,” just FYI) executive produced a series about sexual harassment, which stars Schwimmer, Cynthia Nixon, Emmy Rossum, and Bobby Cannavale.
What’s most interesting about the series is the fact that it was inspired by a series of videos made by director Sigal Avin in Israel called #ThatsHarassment. Schwimmer was sent the videos by Avin for feedback–and he ended up loving them so much that he wanted to make versions for the U.S.
Schwimmer explained why he feels so strongly about the project while he was on The View recently:
“The current climate right now in this country … it feels like women and their advocates are fighting for basic human and civil rights. Sigal and I thought, we need to explicitly state that sexual harassment and sexual assault is not permissible and also give a face to it.”
Did you know that 81% of women have experienced verbal sexual harassment, 44% have experienced “unwanted touching or advances,” and 25% received inappropriate emails or texts? Apparently, this is so–and I can’t say I’m terribly surprised at all. These figures come from a survey done by Cosmopolitan in 2015, where they found “1 in 3 women between the ages of 18–34 had been sexually harassed at work,” as pointed out by Amy Poehler’s “Smart Girls.”
The real problem is, many people don’t actually know what constitutes as sexual harassment, often feeling as if what happened to them isn’t “bad enough.” However, according to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, sexual harassment is “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.” This means that a text message you didn’t want to get from a colleague you aren’t having a consensual sexual relationship with, for instance, is sexual harassment. Yet, according to Cosmopolitan, only 29% reported it, which is not shocking, considering so many women don’t even realize when it’s happening.
This is why these videos are so necessary–we can all take the time to watch them, not just for ourselves, but for our sons and daughters.
You can watch all six of the PSAs here:
This post is part of the Here.Now series, which seeks to destigmatize mental health,
and is made possible by UJA-Federation of New York and The Jewish Board.
You can find other educational mental health resources here.