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Asheville has its share of sexual harassment cases, attorney says

The headlines keep coming about Hollywood producer and mogul--and now accused sexual predator--Harvey Weinstein. (Photo: ZUMA Press)

The headlines keep coming about Hollywood producer and mogul--and now accused sexual predator--Harvey Weinstein.

On Friday night, comedian Lewis CK apologized for his behavior, saying he used his status to abuse women.

Asheville attorney Brian Elston has followed the growing list of men accused of sexually harassing women.

"When I heard the stories coming out I was not surprised," Elston said. "Because this actually happens in Asheville. I've represented waitresses that work at very well-known establishments in Asheville, and it runs everything from unwanted advances, to improper jokes, to even unwanted physical contact."

Elston feels the headlines are a wake-up call to any men or women crossing the line of unwanted and inappropriate behavior at a workplace.

Certified sex addiction therapist and family and marriage counselor David Von Kohorn says the culture contributes to ongoing problems that can potentially bleed into the workplace.

"This is white male priveledge," said Von Kohorn.

He feels the exposure, at an early age, to sexualized American culture, including pornography, he feels nearly all men have seen in their lives, can lead to adult males disregarding both sensitivity and respect for women in a professional environment, where harassment can take place.

"I'd like to see more men talking about it," he said. "I don't really hear men talking about it yet."

But a new hashtag #IDid is emerging on Facebook and Twitter.

It's being used by men and women confessing to past sexual encounters where they've crossed a line.

OurVOICE is a local resource for anyone who's been sexually assaulted, harassed or hurt. Roberto Hess is a staff member there.

"Sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual intimidation, stalking," said Hess. "Are all violations counselors can help with. We also can help guide anyone with litigation counseling or advice if they want to seek counsel."

Hess, trained as a psychiatric social worker, encourages anyone harassed to seek help, hold on to evidence such as voice mails or text messages, and come forward--especially now when the nation is seeing article after article about sexual overtures that have no place at the workplace.

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