Speaking Out Against Harassment Remains Just as Dangerous as Ever

On Sunday, January 7, the Golden Globes Award show turned into a night of red carpet and on-stage activism. Wearing black, many actors, writers and producers used their pre-show interviews or acceptance speeches to talk about wage disparities, sexual harassment, sexual assault and other sexist acts against women and girls. It was a public crescendo on the power of the #MeToo movement – and one that was featured everywhere from newscasts to entertainment media.

There was ample solidarity among the women of Hollywood and their allies, but when it comes to speaking out against men in power — especially those who harass or abuse – shifting the tide is a long, slow process. And unfortunately, accompanying the surge in reports of abuse is a wave of backlash.

Women who speak out against their harassers and abusers are often the victims of aggressive attacks both from their acquaintances and strangers. Their stories are questioned, and they are threatened on and offline. Sometimes they’re stalked or doxxed — and in certain cases, subject to even worse abuse.

Tina Johnson was one of the many women who accused Alabama senate nominee Roy Moore of inappropriate sexual contact and aggressive pursuit of teens and young women when he was in his 30′s. The conduct stories had enough impact on Moore’s campaign to have likely been responsible for his surprise loss, and now a Moore supporter may have taken that out of Johnson herself.

According to AL.com, Johnson’s home in Gladsen, Alabama, was recently destroyed in a fire – one that some think could have been arson. Local sheriffs believe they found the culprit, and they don’t think the fire was related to Johnson’s statements about Moore. Even so, they’ve yet to release any more information, like an alternative motive. A woman in San Francisco started a GoFundMe page to help Johnson, and she’s now raised over $180,000.

Money is often how power gets doled out — with unequal pay or blocked opportunities blocked for those who make waves or speak out against harassment. And sadly, even women aren’t immune from using these weapons on other women.

When Democratic Senator Al Franken of Minnesota was accused of touching women without consent in a series of events both before and after he was elected, the pressure from his own party eventually became strong enough for him to step down from office. But one Franken supporter — a major Democratic donor — is expressing her anger over how Franken was treated.  And she’s decided to take it out on New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who led the Democratic women in an effort to end harassment in the Capitol and beyond.

The New York Times reports:

[Donor Susie Tompkin] Buell said in a text message on Saturday that withdrawing support from the senators who called for his resignation was ‘an option’ she was considering. “In my gut they moved too fast,” she wrote. Franken “was never given his chance to tell his side of the story.” Meanwhile, she is still weighing whether or not she will directly punish Gillibrand herself by refusing her future donations, saying, “As for Gillibrand, unfortunately, I believe she miscalculated and has shot herself in the foot. I have supported her for many years. Will I going forward? To be determined.”

We already knew that women who speak out can face severe career repercussions, financial losses, threats to their safety and more. Unfortunately, while the climate finally seemed right to step forward with allegations, punishments and threats to keep women quiet remain just as prevalent as ever. Luckily, women appear more ready than ever before to face them head-on.

Photo Credit: Roscoe Myrick/Flickr

63 comments

KimJ M
KimJ ManyIssues4 months ago

Tfs

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KimJ M
KimJ ManyIssues4 months ago

Tfs

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Barbara M
Barbara M5 months ago

Thanks for posting

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Janis K
Janis K5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Karen H
Karen H5 months ago

no M, I'm sure if males stepped forward and said they were sexually abused or harassed by women, it would be reported.

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Angela J
Angela J5 months ago

Thank you.

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Danii P
Danii P5 months ago

TYFS

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Peggy B
Peggy B5 months ago

NOTED

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Sonia M
Sonia M5 months ago

Good article thanks for sharing

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Janis K
Janis K5 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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