Courage to speak out inspirational


The flood began in October with a New York Times story alleging rampant and shocking sexual misconduct by Hollywood studio mogul Harvey Weinstein. It then flowed through film, television, media and politics. Powerful men — including actors Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman, director Brett Ratner, morning show host Matt Lauer, music mogul Russell Simmons and Sen. Al Franken — were caught in its wake.

Everyone seems to be asking “Who’s next?” — appalled yet fascinated by the A-list names accused of harassment.

But the real story isn’t the men who’ve been taken down. It’s those who’ve had the courage to come forward and share their stories of harassment.

It wasn’t easy. For some of them, it’s taken years or even decades to feel safe enough to go public. They put their careers, mental health and even safety on the line to shed light on the epidemic of sexual misconduct.

And an epidemic it is. Because it’s not contained to only the Hollywood elite or other public figures.

Nothing better illustrates that than the response to a single tweet by actress Alyssa Milano, who asked women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to share a status with the hashtag #MeToo, a term coined by activist Tarana Burke.

In 10 days, more than 1.7 million people in 85 countries had used the hashtag. Its reach now is immeasurable.

Mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends, wives, best friends … voices united in raising awareness of the treatment endured by far too many women. Men have added their stories as well.

We’d like to think the courage of these victims to share their stories was enough to begin real societal change. And there’s no doubt small signs of change can be seen across the American landscape.

But it will take a concerted effort from every corner of our society to hold celebrities, public figures and ordinary men accountable for their inappropriate and degrading actions.

The conversation has been started. Action must now be taken.

This was distributed by Hoosier State Press Association. Send comments to [email protected].

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