Now, while it's easy — and a whole lot of fun — to get caught up in obsessing over movies, TV shows and other assorted pop cultural products, it's sometimes important to remember that outside the movie theaters, living rooms and hastily constructed pillow forts in which we spend much of our time, there's a living, breathing world of bigger, more pressing issues than whatever Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie do in the privacy of their own homes. Someone well aware of that fact, it seems, is former Harry Potter star and full-time intellectual badass Emma Watson, who recently opted to (temporarily) hang up her acting hat in favor of becoming an outspoken advocate for equality and human rights. And, in her latest public statement...
Emma Watson Just Took An Important Stand Against Sexual Assault
Speaking at the United Nations a few days back, Watson — a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, as well as a key part of the equality-seeking #HeForShe movement — gave a remarkable and deeply moving speech (above) regarding one of the most troubling (or, rather, fundamentally horrifying) issues facing our society: sexual assault. In particular, she focused on the issue of sexual assault on college campuses, and how it has the potential to be hugely damaging beyond even the horror of the initial act. As she put it:
"What if our experience at university shows us that women don’t belong in leadership? What if it shows us that, yes, women can study, but they shouldn’t lead a seminar? What if, as still in many places around the world, it shows that women don’t belong there at all? What if, as is the case in far too many universities, we are given the message that sexual violence isn’t actually a form of violence?"
Instead, she argued:
"A university should be a place of refuge that takes action against all forms of violence... the [university] experience must make it clear that the safety of women, minorities, and anyone who might be vulnerable is a right and not a privilege."
Which, since — according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center — 20–25% of women on US university campuses experience either sexual assault or attempted sexual assault, is something that requires both urgent public attention, and a proactive and immediate response.
If you're interested in getting involved in Watson's campaign, then, you can head to HeForShe.org for more information,and if you or anyone you know needs someone to talk to about anything to do with sexual assault, the good folks at Not Alone can be found right here.
Fear not, Emma Watson isn't hanging up her acting hat for long — she's set to appear in the live-action adaption of Beauty and the Beast, the trailer for which you can watch right here:
What do you think, though? Are you impressed by Watson's speech, or do you think more needs to be done? Let us know below!