Sexual abuse in Hollywood has for decades remained an open secret. It was not until 2017 that the concern hit the news headlines, and hundreds of women came out to speak against sexual harassment from Harvey Weinstein. The 65-year-old Miramax founder and producer is just one of the mighty men in Hollywood accused of sexual abuse, harassment, and assault. Other big wigs with lawsuits filed against them include Roy Moore, Russell Simmons, Woody Allen, U.S. Senator Al Franken, and Gary Goddard, just to mention a few. If you are a victim of sexual abuse in Los Angeles, CA, turn to the Sex Crime Attorney for dependable legal help. You do not have to walk the path alone, and we can hold your hand as you file a civil lawsuit. Let us help you seek the compensation you deserve for the pain, suffering, and injuries inflicted by sexual abuse.
Hollywood Sexual Abuse Overview
One of the main reasons sexual abuse in Hollywood is hardly reported is that women do not understand the line between showbiz demands and unwanted sexual contact. In 2003 when Adrien Brody won the Oscar best-actor award, he grabbed presenter Halle Berry at the podium and dip-kissed her. When Halle Berry spoke out against this years later, people just laughed. This classic example of sexual harassment happening in broad daylight, in front of millions of audiences, and against a powerful woman just confirms how deep the menace goes. If you are not sure whether you have a case, contact us to clarify whether an incident crossed the line of professional interactions.
Unfortunately, sexual abuse in Hollywood happens frequently. It is nearly the functional normal. From aggressive advances to sexual assault, hundreds of women have come out to share their harrowing accounts of incidents they have kept under lock and key for years.
The #MeToo movement launched in 2006 has been on the front line to encourage Hollywood sexual abuse survivors to come out and speak up against their perpetrators. As renowned celebrities, including film actress and director Asia Argento and actress Alyssa Milano, emerged to tell their stories, more victims are willing to speak without fear that their powerful offenders will “crash” them. Irrespective of your status in the film industry, you can rest assured that your voice will be heard without putting your career in jeopardy.
Sexual abuse in Hollywood is the world’s worst-kept secret. For decades, there have been whispers and rumors about child and adult actresses suffering ongoing sexual harassment, abuse, violence, and assault in the hands of high-profile men in Hollywood. Even though men are not immune to sexual abuse from women, there are more female than male sexual abuse victims.
Sexual abuse can take the form of:
Quid pro quo sexual advances
Unwelcome and unconsented touching
Repeated unwanted (with clear warnings) sexual advances
Vulgar remarks, jokes, and statements (verbally or electronically)
Exposing nude body or private parts for sexual gratification
Rape and attempted rape, etc.
Hollywood Sexual Abuse Statistics
A survey conducted on 843 women by the US Today suggests that nearly 94% of women have suffered sexual harassment, assault, violence, or abuse at some point in their Hollywood careers. The survey also shows that about 21% of these women have been raped or forced into sexual acts at least once during their careers.
Here are other statistics allied with the survey:
10% of Hollywood women received unexpected orders to show up nude for auditions
29% reported that their offenders indecently exposed themselves (flashed their private parts)
39% were shown sexually explicit pictures against their will
64% reported receiving constant invites for sexual acts or relationships
65% are victims of quid pro quo sexual advances that allowed them to climb up the professional ladder
69% reported unwanted sexual contact
75% can attest to having witnessed other victims being subjected to sexual harassment
87% are victims of sexual harassment (unwelcome sexual gestures, jokes, or comments)
75% of the victims did not report an incident for fear of retaliation
Only 28% of sexual abuse, harassment, violence, or assault victims experienced positive changes in their work environment after reporting an incident.
In a different but related survey conducted by the Anita Hill-led Hollywood Commission on 5,399 women, 1 in 20 people claimed to have suffered workplace sexual assault within the last one year leading to the survey.
Here are other noteworthy findings from the 5,399 women who participated in the analysis:
5% (270) women were victims of workplace sexual assault within the past 12 months
20% (1,000) females suffered sexual coercion within the previous year alone
42% (2,250) women were subjected to unwelcome sexual attention on the job (unwanted hugging, stroking, touching, or persistent requests for dates or sexual behavior
Women were two times more likely to experience sexual abuse than men
Thanks to the attention brought by the #MeToo movement and the lawsuits against Hollywood men in powerful positions, the industry implemented anti-sexual harassment policies in October 2017. Since then, about 70% of women have reported moderate or significant changes in the overall workplace culture.
Reasons Why Sexual Abuse Is Prevalent In Hollywood
Sexual abuse has been the norm in Hollywood for decades. It is easy to wonder why women in the workforce remain silent about incidents.
First, many victims lack knowledge about what constitutes sexual abuse. Secondly, even those who know the difference between professional interactions and sexual abuse lack encouragement to report. The lack of strict anti-harassment and anti-retaliation policies makes most women shy away from speaking out against their offenders.
Unfortunately, the situation worsens when sexual harassment, violence, abuse, or assault victims fail to report. When there are few or no complaints, perpetrators get the misconception that they are invincible. This paves the way for misconduct to flourish. Sexual abuse also becomes a workplace norm when company leaders do not take matters seriously and fail to act against persons accused of harassment.
In the entertainment industry, sexual abuse is prevalent because the perpetrators are often the people in power. They have the command and influence to “crash” those that speak against them and possibly end their careers. Generally, these influential figures use coercion and intimidation to silence their victims or make them feel hopeless even if they came forward with their allegations. People are likely not to believe them, and even if they did, they lack the resources to pursue long and expensive legal processes.
The pursuit of a dream to become a famous actor or dancer draws most women to Hollywood. The industry has been run by influential and financially endowed men, right from the start, that have the resources to throw lux events and parties in the name of “networking.” One of the critical reasons Hollywood turned into an environment of cover-ups, secrecy, and zero accountability for sexual predators is that victims fear that their careers will end before they start. Both victims and perpetrators have grown to embrace the misconception that sexual harassment encounters are mere “party favors.”
It remains vital to understand that silence only enables sexual abusers and predators to thrive in a pervasive culture where sexual exploitation is “normal.” You can seek justice, irrespective of a perpetrator’s social, professional, or economic status. With the right sex crimes lawyer in your corner, you have the power to file a civil lawsuit and seek compensation for all the injuries, pain, and suffering. A skilled lawyer can greatly assist when building your case and ensure you have maximum winning chances during settlement negotiations or trials.
Reasons Why People Hesitate To Speak Openly Against Sexual Abusers in Hollywood
Based on the accounts of Hollywood sexual abuse victims, including influential female celebrities, it has taken them between a few years and decades to speak up finally. The misdeeds of some of the perpetrators go decades back. Even though each case is unique, there are a few common reasons why sexual abuse victims in Hollywood hesitate to report sexual misconduct.
These reasons include:
Hollywood Cases Often Go Public
A case against a public figure is likely to hit the headlines. Unfortunately, this can upend a victim’s life, making it challenging to remain safe. It is common for influential offenders or even their die-hard fans to go to the extremes of sending death threats. Many women opt to keep incidents of sexual abuse under lock and key for fear that speaking out will only impact their safety and that of their loved ones.
The Misconception That No One Will Believe Them
Another aspect that raises fear is that people will brand you a liar and refuse to stand with you even if you speak out. Often, it is the world of an influential figure against the world of a “nobody.”
The good news is that your attorney can help table evidence that shames those who attempt to discredit your story. Other strategies that could come in handy include taking a polygraph or retrieving conversations between you and your offender. Your best chance of fighting a winning war is to hire a skilled and ethical lawyer who can help you bring the truth to light.
Victims Have To Live With a Tainted Name
In the classic example of Andrea Costand’s case against Bill Cosby, the victim endured massive slander after disclosing rape allegations. She was called many names, including a pathological liar, con artist, and gold digger. People even claimed that she wanted a settlement to pull her parents from poverty.
Again, vicious character attacks aimed at denigrating your motives, values, and truthfulness can only last for so long. Once the truth comes out, those making outrageous claims will recant.
Often, Cases Appear To Have Questionable Motives
Making sexual abuse allegations against an influential person will always raise eyebrows from suspicious die-hard fans. For instance, the four women who spoke out against Roy Moore, claiming he sexually pursued them as teens, received serious backlash from the Alabama Senate candidate supporters. They claimed that the timing to report the incidents was “suspect,” mainly because they came forward weeks before the Senate race.
The Fear of Career-Related Consequences
Again, most Hollywood sexual abuse cases are against influential men in power. According to the accounts of numerous victims, the abusers take it personally when their advances are rejected. The six women who spoke against Les Moonves claimed that their rejection made him hostile and cold. Two of the women even claimed that Moonves made direct threats to wreck their careers.
On the other hand, women accusing Harvey Weinstein of sexual abuse claimed that they feared career-related consequences. After all, the Miramax founder and producer is an influential figure that holds their career prospects in his hands. When actress Gwyneth Paltrow attempted to speak out by confiding in Brad Pitt, her then-boyfriend, Weinstein, threatened her not to breathe a word to anyone else. She claims she opted to remain silent for fear of being fired.
Self-Doubt and Confusion
It is common for victims of sexual abuse to carry some guilt after being violated. Nearly all victims will wrestle over the thought that they would have done something differently to prevent an incident. They think that if only they were not too naïve or at a particular place at the wrong time, they would not be victims of a sexual predator.
Victims can also feel guilty or blame themselves for an incident because they:
Failed to say “No”— Some feel this saying “No” will only put them in immediate danger
Failed to fight back physically — In some situations, the safest thing to do is not to fight back
Felt aroused — Arousal involves the body and the brain. Sometimes, the brain and physical reactions tell different stories. For instance, lubrication can happen as a way of your body protecting you from possible bruising, scrapes, and tears. This does not negate that you did not give consent.
Had an orgasm — Again, your mind and body can tell two separate stories. Even so, assault still happened if you did not give consent.
The above are merely some reasons sexual abuse survivors can feel partially to blame for an incident. It is crucial to understand that nothing about being sexually assaulted was your fault. Nothing.
Worries About Their Credibility
Accusing an influential person of sexual abuse prompts thorough screening into your past relationships, criminal background, and more. Some victims fear that speaking out will only bring their personal affairs into the public light. For instance, one of Moore's accusers claimed that she did not disclose what happened for fear that her financial troubles and three divorces would water down her credibility.
What to Do If You Are a Hollywood Sexual Abuse Victim or Survivor
As a Hollywood sexual abuse survivor, you have a right to file a claim and seek a settlement that covers the damages suffered following an incident.
Here are some steps to take to ensure your safety and recovery:
Prioritize Your Safety
It is natural to go into shock, self-blame, and denial following sexual abuse. Every person is different and will employ a unique coping mechanism to deal with what happened. It is okay to talk to someone, take long showers all day after reporting the incident, retreat to your house for days on end or do whatever it takes to make you feel safe.
Seek Medical Attention
If you suffer injuries following sexual assault, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. This is an essential step that will further ensure your health and safety. A skilled doctor can also aid in gathering critical evidence to prove your claims. If you do not feel confident enough to file a report immediately, your doctor can help you store the evidence and retrieve it once you are ready to pursue justice.
Numerous avenues provide reliable support to sexual abuse survivors. You can talk to a close friend or relative, enroll in therapy or find a support group near you. The last thing you should do is to keep everything to yourself. Remember that you are not to blame or at fault for what happened to you.
Talk To a Sex Crime Attorney
Seeking justice is one of the essential steps to ensuring you heal from the trauma of being sexually abused. The right lawyer will be compassionate and skilled enough to provide invaluable help as you seek to hold the perpetrator accountable for his deeds.
The healing journey can take unexpected twists and turns. However, seeking the justice you deserve is one of the surest ways to begin a new chapter in your life after surviving sexual abuse. Even though a settlement will not erase what happened, it will help foot the cost of treatment and therapy that will aid in your healing journey.
Statute Of Limitations
The statute of limitations for personal injury claims in California is two years. However, there is an exception for Hollywood sexual abuse, among other sex crimes. Even if a whole decade has gone by following an incident, you can still file a civil claim.
If you were at least 18 at the time of an incident, you have a decade to file a claim against your abuser. The law also allows a 3-year statute of limitations to file a lawsuit from the time you knew or should have known about the illness or damage caused by the actions of your offender. In short, if you were abused thirty years ago but only realized a year ago that the occasion is to blame for your depression, you still have a fair chance of filing a winning claim.
From January 2020, The statute of limitations changed for sexually abused children. The current laws allow them to file a claim at any point before they turn forty. Moreover, they have five years from the time they discover damages stemming from abuse to kick start a civil lawsuit.
Thanks to the three-year lookback window, anyone sexually abused as a child can file a claim. This is irrespective of their current age or how many years have gone by after being sexually abused. Note that time is not on your side, and this “lookback window” will cease to work from December 31, 2022. You have until the end of this year to seek the justice you deserve by filing a civil lawsuit against your sexual abuser.
What to Expect In Compensation
Each sexual abuse case is different, and the settlement awarded will highly depend on a range of factors. For instance, you have better chances of receiving maximum compensation if you gather compelling evidence against your abuser. Any evidence that shows your damages is instrumental in ensuring you receive a fair amount for your claim.
Some of the damages you can pursue are as follows:
Loss of wages
Loss of earning potential
Denied salaries, promotions, commissions, incentives, or benefits
Medical expenses (for both physiological and psychological injuries)
Relocation expenses (if you had to flee from the abuser for safety reasons)
Non-economic damages (pain and suffering, humiliation, reputational damage, and more)
Victims need to understand that they do not have an absolute right to receive a punitive damage award. You can only receive this award if your case moves to trial and a judge finds the actions of your abuser to be heinous. A skilled Hollywood sexual abuse attorney can ensure you have the best chances of receiving a settlement for all damages suffered.
Find A Hollywood Sexual Abuse Attorney Near Me
Filing and proving a sexual abuse claim against a Hollywood big wig may seem impossible, but it is not. With a competent attorney by your side, you can better understand your legal rights and even know the best legal avenues to fight for justice. At Sex Crime Attorney, we understand your fears and have what it takes to help you build a strong case. We can ensure you have what you need to support your claim, from gathering witness testimonies and medical records to collecting employment, medical, and therapy treatment records. If you are a sexual abuse survivor in Los Angeles, CA, contact us at 424-835-9799. Let us evaluate your case and help you seek the justice you deserve.