Michelle Obama is breaking her silence on the increasing sexual assault allegations emerging from Hollywood and across the media industry. The remarks come after ousted Miramax founder Harvey Weinstein’s sexual assault allegations served as a catalyst for similar accusations to bubble to the surface.
“I can’t tell you how sick it makes me, the more I see the uncovering of the truth that all us women know has been out there, that there is an ugliness there,” Obama told attendees at her sold-out speech in Hartford, Connecticut, Thursday, Nov. 16 according to People magazine.
“If we want young women to be strong and have voices and advocate for themselves, then we have to realize how much work we have to do,’’ said Obama, whose older daughter Malia Obama interned with Weinstein’s former production company over the summer. “And I’m talking to the men out there, who cannot be innocent bystanders and complacent … watching this happen.”
One of those men who isn’t being complacent is former Vice President Joe Biden. He announced Monday, Nov. 13 that he is partnering with his “It’s On Us” nonprofit partner Lady Gaga to open trauma centers to support sexual assault victims long term.
The Harvey Weinstein Scandal That Started It All
“Women who are abused end up having long-term physical and physiological problems,” Biden explained at Glamour‘s Women of the Year Summit according to Billboard magazine. “I’m working with Lady Gaga now … we [want to] set up trauma centers where women can go to get the long-term help they need to deal with these crises … We finally are recognizing the long-term impacts on the health of women and men who’ve been abused. It’s the next great frontier I want to be part of.”
Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey is also taking things head-on by launching a task force of “specially trained deputy district attorneys” to handle any complaints of sexual assaults that may come into her office for criminal prosecution.
“I have assigned the group of veteran sex crimes prosecutors to work together to ensure a uniformed approach to the legal review and possible prosecution of any case that meets both the legal and factual standards for criminal prosecution,” she said in a Tuesday, Nov. 9 statement.
Also continuing the conversation is the “Me Too” campaign, which was initially launched by Tarana Burke in 2007. Since it was relaunched months ago in response to the Weinstein scandal, many have continued to share their stories on social media.