Olivia Munn Pens Powerful Essay On Sexual Assault In Hollywood

"This is an abuse-of-power issue."

As Hollywood continues to come to terms with the extent of how sexual harassment and assault has shaped much of its business, actress Olivia Munn had an important reminder of just who should be concerned when it comes to sexism in the entertainment industry. Munn, one of six women who accused Brett Ratner of sexual misconduct in November, shared her story in a personal essay published in Entertainment Weekly this week.  

"This is not a 'women's' issue, this is an abuse-of-power issue," the LEGO Ninjago actress wrote. "... And until we eradicate the diseased roots of our infrastructure and make foundational, systemic changes, nothing will change."

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Munn continued, calling to mind the power that has been granted to many of the men who now stand accused while power is stripped from those who are victims of sexual assault.

"When people ask how these men in powerful positions were able to hurt so many people for so many years, I look to the people at the top and ask those questions. The system that lets men like Ratner and [Woody] Allen back in, is the same system that creates disparity. It's tilted to roll back into their favor while the rest of us are saddled with a Sisyphean task."

In her essay, Munn also took a moment to respond to Woody Allen's statement that he feared an impending "witch-hunt atmosphere" by pointing out that "the possibility of an overcorrection is much less worrisome than all of the injustices that led us to this moment." 

"In our world today — and it's not just Hollywood, it's the same for girls and women all over the world who have survived sexual abuse and/or harassment — abusers don't usually get in trouble unless the victim is broken first, because the violating act alone is not damaging enough to spark society's outrage," Munn wrote. "It's a marathon towards self-destruction in order to gain credibility and a vicious circle of victim-blaming."

In closing, Munn called for a "zero-tolerance" policy toward sexual assault and other forms of abuse in the industry and looks to a future where men and women work together to dismantle the system and structures that helped create the culture of sexual harassment that is currently rampant in Hollywood. 

"If you're already at the top or on your way there, please don't hold us back anymore," Munn wrote. "Instead, stand with the rest of us — because the glass ceiling that hangs over me is the same glass ceiling that will hang over your daughters, sisters, nieces.

"Together, our voices are mighty, powerful, and earth-shaking. We're strong. We're not afraid to call each other out — and we're not afraid to call you out anymore either."

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