A new initiative to battle sexual assault in the workplace was announced on January 1st. This new endeavor, which continues the fight against systematic assault and harassment for women in the workplace, is called #TimesUp.

This brave initiative began with meetings held in October 2017 and gained traction as the year progressed. Now, over 300 prominent women in the film industry, ranging from producers to actresses, are urging the government to enact legislation to protect all women in the workforce - specifically blue-collar women, who have seemingly been left out of previous conversations.

While the #MeToo movement in 2017 bonded women and men alike and helped start conversations around sexual assault, it was limited in many ways. This new initiative promises to change those conversations to include more people and make tangible progress for sexual assault survivors - and it sounds like it might actually work.

The official word just came out this week, but the initiative has already gotten to work. Various groups, including a commission tasked with creating a blueprint for protection in the film industry and 50/50by2020 - a group dedicated to greater gender, race, and LGBTQ+ representation in the entertainment industry - are being supported by #TimesUp. What’s also important about this movement is its inclusion of other marginalized groups, including women of color and LGBTQ+ individuals, who are particularly vulnerable to workplace harassment and discrimination.

Ambitious questions and recommendations are being brought forth, including recommending legislation that penalizes companies that tolerate persistent harassment and discourage non-disclosure agreements that silence survivors. Specific references to less-privileged women including janitors, nurses, factory workers, and many more references have been made as well, indicating that this initiative is not just for the privileged women it has been in the past.

A Time’s Up Defense Fund has already been set up, administered by the Women’s Law Center’s Legal Network for Gender Equity, to connect assault survivors with lawyers. This fund, which has already been backed by some of Hollywood’s famous (think Steven Spielberg, Reese Witherspoon, and J.J. Abrams) is worth over $13 million dollars.

This new initiative is promising and exciting, and we here at Project Consent are happy to see #TimesUp working for all survivors and look forward to working towards the same goal of ending sexual assault and uplifting survivors.