Clip of the Week: Protecting Victims From Sexual Abuse

As this is written, Supreme Court judge nominee Brett Kavanaugh is amid hearings that confront allegations against him of sexual assault by former classmates Christine Blasey Ford, Deborah Ramirez and Julie Swetnick. As is the situation in many assault and rape cases-- as seen this week with the conclusion of Bill Cosby's litigation-- the victims are seemingly on trial, with past behavior scrutizined in order to discredit her character to prove dishonesty, because of the belief that only perfect human beings deserve justice for harm being done to them. For those old enough to remember, this scene is starkly similar to the hearings around Anita Hill, a law professor who accused then-Supreme Court nominee and former colleague Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. While other women came forward with more accusations of harassment by Thomas, Hill was forced to stand alone opposite a wall of men who didn't deem her experience worthy of defense. Sexual harassment against women is extremely commonplace; 81% of women have experienced harassment in their lifetimes, with 38% of women having experienced it within their workplace. Women like Anita Hill, Dr. Blasey Ford, and millions more risk so much by speaking out against their abusers, especially if they are co-workers; victims often face retaliation for their honesty with continued harassment, ostracization, demotion or dismissal from their position. In addition, resources helping victims to cope with the stress of harassment are not always available, affecting their quality of life significantly.

 

In this Clip of the Week, District 6 City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal moderates this episode of Represent NYC as she sits with Gender Equality Law Center's Allegra L. Fisher and ALIGN's Maritza Silvia-Farrell to talk about gendered discrimination and workplace harassment. Women are frequently pushed out of their jobs due to workplace harassment, and they often include the LGBTQ community who already face discrimination for existing as they are, and low-wage employees who can't risk losing a salary because they are living paycheck to paycheck. The panel discusses the ways in which New York is taking charge to protect victims from workplace harassment, including passing laws that hold harassers accountable and encouraging bystanders to become more outspoken about abuse that they've witnessed. Watch the whole episode now.