Many people have accused Oprah of being Harvey Weinstein’s accomplice.
Let us not assume because Oprah was friendly with Harvey Weinstein that she “KNEW” he was a sex offender harassing and assaulting actresses and actors.
I have assisted hundreds of sexual abuse survivors and sex offenders in their recovery process for 30+ years. Sex offenders are cunning and clever in their quest to act appropriately when necessary. Sex offenders target vulnerable, insecure and/or needy women/men. Oprah is an empowered and determined person, who sets boundaries, therefore, she is unlikely to be a sex offender’s target.
Women/men need to learn how to STOP being a sex offender’s target. Each woman, who has been raped by a known person or stranger have unwittingly become a target. Body language and tone of voice with clear, concise and direct language are your best weapons against a would-be sex offender.
Sexual assault is about intimidation, humiliation, control and dominance. Sex offenders target someone who will be easily intimidated, humiliated, controlled and dominated.
Use these tools to end being a sex offender’s target.
- Be confident. Know who you are and what you are about. Speak assertively. Stand up for your rights. Use firm eye contact—without staring or glaring–versus fleeting eye contact, you become known as an empowered person. If you are unsure about your empowerment read, “The Art of Everyday Assertiveness: Speak Up. Say No. Set Boundaries. Take Back Control,” by Patrick King. Or if you need more guidance take an Assertiveness Class.
- If you experience any unacceptable behavior or sexual contact whether someone else would object, you have the right to object and set a boundary immediately. “Do not touch me—keep your hands to yourself.” “I don’t like what you are doing, stop it.” Or if someone is disrespectful or rude, you can state, “Your statement is offensive do not talk to me that way.” “Don’t talk to me that way.” “I don’t know who you think you are talking to, because I don’t tolerate your rude, disrespectful comments.” Make your statement in a firm, clear, concise, emphatic, and empowered tone. That is one strategy to STOP the offensive conduct.
It’s not easy for many people to speak up and that’s understandable. No one wants to be considered argumentative, a poor sport or worse a bitch. It is important to speak up the first time you experience unacceptable verbal behavior or unwanted physical contact.
- If that doesn’t work or if you do not feel comfortable with what someone is doing the next person to talk to is the human resources director. The HR Director has the responsibility to then work with the employee to educate him/her on appropriate behavior or fire him/her.
- If Human Resources fails to attend to the issue or is unable to create compliance, you have the right to pursue legal action. While this is usually not necessary, the option is your right.
In situations when the inappropriate behavior is outside the confines of the work environment, then you need to decide how you will take action or distance yourself from the person.
In the case of Harvey Weinstein, who held a reputation of being the movie mogul of the century, the majority who were intimidated or bullied by his tactics were able to go on with his/her career. It is a fallacy that one person can ruin a career unless you allow it.
Pleading or attempting to reason with the offender is NOT a strategy. Your rights are not negotiable. Therefore, it is imperative to speak firmly, clearly, concise and direct. Notice the examples–I didn’t include the word ‘please’. Yes, saying please is appropriate for social and familial interactions. When your body boundaries are violated, ‘please’ implies you are ‘asking the person to accommodate you.’ Thus, the person believes it is a ‘negotiation’ or with some insistence you will accommodate their needs, because yours are irrelevant to them and you are unsure of yourself.
Dealing with someone who violates or repeatedly violates your boundaries is about identifying your choices. Choosing the best option (none may be ideal in every situation), respecting yourself, and trusting your instincts are paramount. Unfortunately, there is no easy or iron clad answer. Setting boundaries sometimes means others will be hurt, angry or offended and sometimes you cannot continue to have them in your life. In the work environment you have the option of reporting the incident to human resources or the requisite management or authorities. DO NOT wait for the 3rd, 4th or 5th offence from the same person, doing so, implies you were going along with it and are now being vindictive. Confront at the first incident—immediately, or if too awkward confront privately as soon as possible. If you are uncomfortable confronting privately, ask a colleague or friend to be with you or contact HR or requisite authority to address it. In any case if a second incidence occurs, report to management/authorities as soon as possible—don’t wait for days, weeks or months.
You have the right to protect your integrity, space and life.
About Dr. Dorothy:
Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, Ph.D., Metaphysician, Certified Hypnosis Practitioner, author, “If I’d Only Known…Sexual Abuse In Or Out Of The Family: A Guide To Prevention, (order at www.drdorothy.net ) specializes in sexual abuse, incest, and physical abuse recovery. She is a speaker and trainer on a variety of issues, Lifetime member, Who’s Who in American Women, 2000 Edition.