According to the organization, its Sexual Harassment Help Line and Pro-Bono legal aid panel will refer men and women in need of assistance to other survivors, designated mental health counselors, law enforcement professionals, and civil and criminal lawyers and litigators. The helpline will also serve as a crisis center and information hub. William Morris Endeavor (WME) has provided seed funding to build and staff the helpline.
“I’m sad that we are in a place where the formation of a crisis and relief center for victims of sexual harassment and sex crimes is necessary, but I have no doubt that Women in Film’s deep familiarity with the business and behavior of our community, position as an independent and not-for-profit entity not aligned with any particular studio, agency, or company, institutional knowledge of discrimination and the social science surrounding change models, as well as our deep devotion to our members and friends, will enable the Help Line and legal aid panel to move the national conversation about workplace harassment in a positive and curative direction. We also welcome all companies and organizations devoted to ending these practices to contribute their thoughts and expertise to our efforts, as we are all in this together,” said WIF President Cathy Schulman in a statement.
Executive Director of Women In FilmKirsten Schaffer said, “Our phones have been ringing off the hook since these harassment stories began to break. We are hearing that victims feel isolated, that there is nowhere safe to go to tell their stories, that they believe they must keep their experiences silent or they will be sued or black-balled and that they feel helpless, fearing the legal costs of trying to do anything about what has happened to them. The Help Line will be staffed by trained experts to address these concerns, and all information will be kept strictly confidential.”