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Hollywood scandal highlights common harassment methods

Recently, a report revealed that well-known film producer and executive Harvey Weinstein has engaged in numerous acts of sexual harassment. Dozens of women have since spoken out about being mistreated by the high-powered movie mogul. 

As allegations continue to come out and women share more stories, we can see some of the common methods that people in power -- like Weinstein -- use to harass and intimidate employees and colleagues. Below, we examine some of these methods.

Promising job benefits

Weinstein allegedly promised roles, screen tests and other perks for women who performed sexual favors for him. When someone promises, offers or even hints at giving something like a job or promotion in exchange for engaging in a sexual act, this is called quid pro quo harassment, and it is unlawful. 

Stalking or harassing outside of work

According to reports, some of the women said Weinstein would send them gifts, call relentlessly and show up at their place of work. Sexual harassment is not confined to the four walls of an office, and even when harassment occurs outside the workplace, it is still harassment and can warrant legal action.

Claiming others have engaged in similar behaviors without complaint

In some reports, women stated that Weinstein tried to make them do things by saying other women had done them. Trying to normalize harassment or make it sound like it is a part of being successful is a tactic used to make victims doubt themselves and their judgment. 

Being a physical or metaphorical obstacle

In the film industry, Weinstein was known for his power, his connections and his large size. These are all things he evidently used to block victims from getting away or speaking out. Blocking an exit, tainting a person's reputation and refusing to work with someone are all ways a harasser might stand in the way of a victim who is not cooperating with their misconduct.

Knowing your legal rights and taking action to stop harassment

Victims of sexual harassment often feel powerless, hopeless and ashamed, which is why it can be so difficult to speak up. However, it is crucial to remember that you have rights and they are worth defending. Talking to an attorney can help you understand your rights and take steps to protect them. 

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