Hills Students Give Their Opinions on Recent Sexual Assault Scandals

By Aseel Dabour and Alexa Soroka

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Ever since the now-infamous Harvey Weinstein sexual assault allegations surfaced last month, an unending tsunami of women (and men) offering their Me Too stories have poured forth into public view.

In what is hopefully a sign of a changing culture, many victims have felt more comfortable in recent weeks discussing their harrowing experiences with sexual assault or harassment. Most of these stories have come from politics or the entertainment industry. Notably, many male victims have been willing to make their stories public; these individuals have historically been largely ignored.

Many prominent men, including Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Senator Al Franken, Charlie Rose, former presidents George HW Bush and Bill Clinton, and Judge Roy Moore, have faced allegations of varying severity, with men, women, and minors being among the accusers. While many of these men have seen their careers crumble in wake of the allegations, others have escaped relatively unscathed. For example, Moore, a candidate for the Alabama senatorial seat vacated by attorney general Jeff Sessions, has retained remarkable support in his home-state and vehemently denied assault claims despite the ever-growing wealth of evidence against him.

Like Moore, some of the accused have been quick to dismiss claims against them, suggesting their accusers just want “five minutes of fame” or have political motivations. Others admitted to all or some of the allegations but gave apologies that have been widely criticized as insufficient. Many feel it is this behavior that has long fueled victims’ fear of speaking up, as they believed their claims would not be believed or acknowledged by the public. 

As individuals like Keneth Frost demonstrate, these fears are often founded in reality. Frost, despite being a Baptist, chose to defend Roy Moore, a pedophile accused of sexual misconduct by at least seven women who claim the Alabama Senate Candidate sexually abused them when they were teenagers around 30 years ago.

“Even if he’s guilty, I’ll back him all the way,” says Frost. Opinions similar to Frost’s are startlingly common among Moore’s constituency.

The recent accusations have made it clear that many men abuse their power by forcing a woman (or man) into uncomfortable situations, sometimes threatening to ruin the careers of these individuals if they fail to comply. It also suggests much more abuse has occurred and will likely continue to occur in workplaces that the media and public pay less attention to than Hollywood or Washington. 

WHHS students were asked how they felt about the recent accusations.

Sophomore Sama Jaber believes that “these men are old enough to control themselves; they should all take responsibility for their actions.”

When asked about what price these men must pay, Jaber mentioned an interesting point that often goes ignored.

“People that are sexually assaulted have mental issues after, if someone is mentally affected the abusers should pay for all the mental health costs.”

Freshman Mckenzie McFadden was strongly opinionated on the issue: “It’s really disgusting and absolutely nothing to joke about.”

Boys seem to have varying opinions regarding the issue, but all those asked condemned perpetrators of sexual assault and harassment. Sophomore Mateo Mirko believed that “Everyone deserves a second chance, but they should still go to jail.”

Jack Palatucci, a junior, believes, “They should not be allowed to work in the same industry anymore.”

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