Harvey Weinstein scandal creates local discussion on sexual assault

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A sexual assault scandal involving big time movie producer Harvey Weinstein, is setting the stage for discussions on sexual harassment in any workplace.

Many in Hollywood have described Harvey Weinstein's actions with young talent as an open secret, and one local victim advocate says it's an all too familiar story.

"Sexual harassment and discrimination aren't things that individuals only face in industries that are high publicity or high glamour,” Washburn University's Interim Director of Counseling Services Crystal Leming said.

Leming says sexual harassment happens everywhere, and many victims don't report because they feel they'll get in trouble.

"It’s a twofold problem, so one, women and victims in general of harassment or other discrimination often feel that their employment becomes contingent on their compliance in what’s going on,” Leming explained.

“Then likewise the other half of that problem is that it’s something that women have come to expect and to really tolerate, and they don't need to or have to.”

Leming said that's true even if the harasser is a top boss like Harvey Weinstein.

"It takes a different kind of reporting so you can’t report directly to your supervisor, that doesn't mean that you can’t report to anyone,” Leming said.

She said a number of federal agencies will take reports, and protect you, so you don't have to wait for others to come forward.

"Definitely those who are experiencing harassment have resources and we encourage you to speak up, and identify that problem, but if you are watching this happen to somebody its equally a responsibility of yours to speak up and see how you can intervene in a positive way,” Leming said.

Washburn University is hosting a sexual assault bystander training on October 19th, so you know how to prevent sexual assault before it happens.

You can find a complete catalog of sexual violence and harassment resources at https://www.nsvrc.org/organizations