A LESSON IN THE BYSTANDER EFFECT

Against the backdrop of the recent #MeToo movvment, Uma Thurman has become vocal about her own experience with misogyny, sexual assault and those in the industry who turned a blind eye to the behaviour of powerful Hollywood figures.

In a recent interview, Uma Thurman speaks about her experiences with Harvey Weinstein. Uma Thurman recalls how he would validate and compliment her, and in hindsight, how those instances were Weinstein hiding his true intentions. Weinstein used his power to attempt to coerce her into having a sexual encounter with Thurman.

Weinstein is not the only man Uma references. In October, Quentin Tarantino said he “[I] knew enough to do more than I did.” Tarantino was not ignorant of Weinstein’s predatory behavior, and still chose to work with him. Thurman recalls telling Tarantino about the situation where Weinstein attempted to force himself onto her.

Thurman has referred to those compliant with Weinstein’s actions, and it is not something we as a society can sweep under the rug. Those who know what an individual has done cannot stand idly on the sidelines. They cannot continue to support the actions of an individual because they get along during work, or appreciate the work the individual does on their own. Talent does not erase what someone has done, what violences they have committed.

So what can we do if we if we know more about someone or a situation? If someone tells you about a situation where they felt they were coerced or forced, or uncomfortable with the way someone is acting towards them, there are steps you can take.

  1. Try to safely remove them from the situation. This can include just walking with them out outside, calling security if you are comfortable, or if you are out with a group, gathering up the group to leave. Don’t do anything outside of your comfort zone or put yourself or them at risk.
  2. Drive a friend home if they have had too much to drink
  3. Don’t leave them alone if someone is making them uncomfortable because of a past event or how they are currently behaving

The absence of action is an action, and that is not something we should forget.