Sexual assault and harassment have been mentioned a lot in the media lately. This is because many allegations have been made against influential figures in the music and film industry. But what happens when someone who you once looked up to is accused of something like this?
Statistically, only 310 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to police. Many people don't want to come forward because:
-They are embarrassed and don't want people to know
-They don't have enough evidence
-There is the fear of being labelled a liar, especially if the situation involves someone with lots of power and influence over the media
- They may believe it was their own fault, and that they could do something to stop it.
Luckily, after the #MeToo campaign, many celebrities and victims everywhere have felt more confident to share their stories and experiences. However the most devastating thing about it is that most of the accused "rapists" you have been hearing about in the media are extremely well known and idolised household names.
Celebrities who have been accused recently include Melanie Martinez, Ed Westwick, Sylvester Stallone and Harvey Weinstein. I was very shocked to hear that someone who I had been following for years, and considered a role model could be capable of such a thing. It almost feels like you are being betrayed, although you don't know them, it feels like you do. This is because they have been a part of your life, no matter how big or small. You also feel torn, especially if there has been no official police investigation yet and you don't know the truth. Should you continue to support your idol, or should you support the victims? Of course it is wrong to victim shame anyone, but it's normal to consider the possibility that they could be lying.
My advice would be to not take any side and let justice run its course. The truth will be revealed eventually and you need to be careful you don't say anything you would regret, especially online. Please don't get into any arguments on social media over this, none of us know what really happened until the police make a statement. Although you should never assume the victim is lying, there is a chance that someone could make up a story for attention or fame. It is best to support the victims for sharing their story, but also remember that everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Also, you shouldn't feel bad for liking someone's work who is accused, it's not your fault and you didn't know. Personally, after I find out something like this I would rather not continue to enjoy their work, but you shouldn't be ashamed.
Overall what I would say about this is remember it is a sensitive topic, and what you say can end up offending someone even if you didn't mean it. If you are a victim or know someone who is, don't be afraid to speak out.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.