Advocates point to Harvey Weinstein allegations as example of larger problem

Posted at 4:30 AM, Oct 16, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-16 06:56:44-04

CINCINNATI -- Khrys Styles formed the K.A.S.S.I.E. Project after a good friend, Cassie Betts, was killed by her boyfriend 17 years ago. She said she wants to create a safe space to speak. 

"Cassie and I spent a lot of time just hanging out, talking on the couch, but I feel like we weren't talking about anything," she said. 

That's because neither knew the other had experienced sexual assault, Styles said. 

Allegations of sexual assault by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein have advocates here in the Tri-State saying it's part of a growing problem that needs to be addressed. 

Kristin Shrimplin is the president and CEO of Women Helping Women, another group that helps victims of gender-based violence. Shrimplin said the group works with 7,000 survivors. 

"I get incredibly frustrated at times," she said. "I do not understand why we are seeing more violence, harassment and assault."

Shrimplin said high-profile cases like Weinstein's point to a growing "rape culture" in society, and that needs to change. It will take policies, laws, mandates and programming to prevent it, she said.

In a report last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission called sexual harassment a persistent problem, saying three out of four cases go unreported to a supervisor. 

"We're not going to be quick to say, 'Hey, this happened to me,'" Styles said. "We don't need somebody else telling us that it was our fault, or we should have done this or it couldn't have been them."

Women Helping Women also helps companies develop sexual harassment policies. They offer a 24-hour crisis hotline at 513-381-5610.