David Schwimmer is king of “ the gray area.” If you’ve ever seen Friends, you know that Ross and Rachel spent 10 seasons of the beloved show navigating the gray area of their friendship, relationship and parent-ship.
In 2017 the actor has taken on a new gray area, and the lesson to be learned from it definitely trumps the Ross and Rachel escapade.
Schwimmer teamed up with friend and director Sigal Avin to launch a campaign designed to raise awareness about everyday sexual harassment. He told the women of The View, “We’ve seen a lot of sexual violence in the media, but we’ve not seen this particular gray area of sexual assault, where it’s about power and a certain dynamic.”
Schwimmer and Avin partnered with actors to create a series of six short films titled That’s Harassment. Each short depicts what sexual harassment actually looks like in areas of the workplace, medical practices and regular interactions between men and women.
Avin originally created a version of the films in Israel, and brought similar scenarios to the states in her partnership with the former Ross Gellar.
Schwimmer explains that the current social climate of our country is begging for something that sheds light on women’s rights and harassment. He said there was no better time to launch the project.
In addition, April has been declared Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Each That’s Harassment video posted to the campaign’s Facebook page, is based on a true story, and portrays everyday scenarios where sexual harassment may easily occur. The idea is to put a face to what sexual harassment actually looks like, while helping women identify it, and ignite a conversation.
They’re honest, raw and executed beautifully, but I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge how difficult they are to watch. According to Schwimmer, though, that’s really the major point behind them. Sexual harassment isn’t comfortable, and it isn’t right. This campaign is putting a visual to the experiences that are all-too-often, considered taboo.
One short in particular did just that in Schwimmer’s own family after his mother watched “The Doctor.”
“She, for the first time, told me that after seeing ‘The Doctor’ film that she was sexually harassed by one of her doctors,” he said. “And my sister, when she was a young woman, was sexually harassed by her doctor. Like, I didn’t know either of those things.”
Schwimmer says that one of the main objectives of the campaign is to bring men into the conversation. The power-dynamic that is portrayed in the films is something that men can learn to identify as “inappropriate,” and wrong.