Over the last few months, reports of sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood have popped up on a nearly daily basis. Now a new survey by USA Today once again drives home how much of an epidemic they are.
Of the 843 women in the entertainment industry surveyed, 94 percent say they've experienced harassment or assault. Twenty-one percent say they have been forced to do something sexual at least once.
87 percent of respondents say they've been on the receiving end of unwelcome sexual comments, jokes, or gestures. 69 percent say they've been groped in a sexual way at least once, and 64 percent report that they have been propositioned for sex or a relationship at least once in their career.
Many of the responders say that this kind of activity happens so often that they eventually came to view it as a part of the job. A camera operator told USA Today, "It happens so frequently that it's just the functioning normal. For me, this includes everything from misogynistic or sexual comments made over a headset while working, to blatant grabbing to comments about my body. I've spent the last 20 years accepting it as the price of doing business in a 'man's job.'"
Only one in four women ended up reporting these experiences to anyone and a small portion (28 percent) say their situation improved after they brought it up. When something did happen, the most likely response was a warning or reprimand (32 percent) or removal of the harasser (23 percent). 8 percent of respondents say a termination took place after reporting and 4 percent say there was a settlement in their case. None of the cases were prosecuted.
The study learned that these experiences usually went unreported because of fear. A publicist told USA Today, "Being in a line of work that obtains clients through word-of-mouth makes me reluctant to speak (about) these sexual harassment/assault experiences for fear of losing clients or collaborations with other firms/companies."
40 percent of the women say they did not trust the system and 34 percent weren't sure what happened to them counted as sexual harassment. 32 percent said they didn't have evidence and 20 percent said they didn't report out of shame.
The research did reflect that younger women are more likely to report harassment and assault, giving hope that the numbers could change over time. 35 percent of women under the age of 30 reported the incidents, compared to 19 percent of women older than 60.
USA Today's study was conducted in partnership with The Creative Coalition, Women in Film and Television, and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. You can read the full results here.