Emma Watson launches hotline that provides women legal advice on workplace sexual harassment
Instagram / Emma Watson

A staggering one in two women have been sexually harassed at work, but four out of five of them aren't comfortable reporting the issues to H.R., which is why actress Emma Watson launched a new hotline that offers free legal advice regarding sexual harassment in England and Wales.

The hotline is designed to help women hold their employers and harassers accountable and is the first of its kind, something Watson finds "completely staggering," she told Fast Company. Anyone who needs legal advice for dealing with these types of situations can call the hotline and speak with someone from the nonprofit, Rights of Women, without paying the lofty fees traditional lawyers often charge.

"This advice line's purpose is to empower women to exercise their legal rights in the workplace. By advising women about their legal options and increasing their understanding of equalities and discrimination law, we will be able to help them make informed choices about next steps, including how to navigate the legal system with confidence," Rights of Women's senior legal officer, Deeba Syedtold Indie Wire.

Women can get advice on determining what counts as sexual harassment, filing a complaint against an employer, making a claim, and navigating settlement and nondisclosure agreements (NDAs), Fast Company reports.


RELATED: After #MeToo, these Hollywood women say 'Time's Up' for workplace harassment

The hotline is backed by the Time's Up United Kingdom Justice and Equality Fund and is managed by Rosa, a charitable fund set up to support initiatives that benefit women and girls in the U.K. It also received a $1.2 million donation from Watson and others in the film industry (which is no stranger to sexual harassment).

Syed also points out that sexual harassment in the workplace has reached "epidemic levels," but the good news is people are now aware of and talking about the problem, which means that we can finally fix it. "It finally feels like people are realizing the scale of the problem, and I'm certainly hopeful that with global standards such as the recent International Labor Organization treaty on harassment at work we'll start to see a new climate of prevention and accountability on this issue domestically," Watson said in a statement.

RELATED: Anita Hill nailed why we need to rethink who's to blame when it comes to sexual abuse

"Understanding what your rights are, how you can assert them and the choices you have if you've experienced harassment is such a vital part of creating safe workplaces for everyone, and this advice line is such a huge development in ensuring that all women are supported, wherever we work," Watson said. Women supporting other women is a beautiful thing.

If you're in need of legal advice regarding sexual harassment and you live in England or Wales, you can call 020 7490 0152.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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