Silence, Bought And Sold

10/25/2017 05:34 pm ET Updated Nov 03, 2017
photo credit: madamepsychosis via photopin (license)

Silence is a valuable commodity which has been bought and sold since the dawn of time. Aside from the price paid for the silence, the real price of silence can never truly be quantified.

Although there is no market index tracking recent purchases and sales of silence, the price or value of the silence is based on how much the buyer wants the silence and how much the seller needs to receive to remain silent.

The purchaser of silence is often powerful and/or wealthy or both, as in the case of Harvey Weinstein. The seller of silence is often not powerful or wealthy but in possession of knowledge or truths that the buyer does not want others to know, such as the actresses Weinstein allegedly assaulted.

The sellers of silence, such as the actresses allegedly accosted by Weinstein, have a choice to make: agree to be silent about the assault in exchange for compensation of some kind (money or a job offer or a part in a film) or refuse to remain silent and forgo the proffered compensation.

An actress might choose to remain silent about a sexual assault without compensation because she was embarrassed or wanted a part in a future film or didn't think anyone would believe her.

An actress might accept compensation after a sexual assault and agree to remain silent for the same or similar reasons, but the money or the acting role she accepted was purchased with her silence.

If the allegations against Harvey Weinstein are true, for Harvey Weinstein, silence was golden. Silence from the women he sexually assaulted gave him a golden opportunity to continue to extract sexual favors from (and commit sexual assaults against) woman after woman. His golden rule was to treat women the way he wanted to treat them and then buy their silence.

The actual cost of their silence, however, is far greater than the compensation received as the silence purchased allowed the sexual assaults to continue unchecked. The purchased silence extinguished the warnings that could have been broadcast publicly to protect others from finding themselves confronted by the same or similar unlawful sexual assaults committed by the same person.

Silence is complicity.

People like Harvey Weinstein, who buy silence with money or job offers or whatever, need to stop sexually harassing and sexually assaulting people.

And the victims of such sexual assaults and sexual harassment need to stop selling their silence.

The victims are David. The perpetrators are Goliath. And the slingshot is the truth spoken openly, not silenced by compensation of any kind.

There is no true compensation for crimes of sexual abuse, sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Let's stop this behavior.

Let’s top selling our silence.

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