I Believe You

The roster of powerful and famous men accused of sexual harassment or worse is long and growing.  Bill Cosby.  Harvey Weinstein.  Roy Moore.  Al Franken.  George H.W. Bush.  Charlie Rose.  And the list goes on and on, and with it hopefully a realization that this is not OK, in any era and in particular going forward.

Perhaps this goes without saying but I feel compelled to say it anyway.  It isn't just powerful and famous men who catcall and grope and assault and rape.  It is also pastors and teachers and soccer coaches and swim instructors and uncles and fathers and brothers and cousins.  Whoever it is, it is wrong.

It is understandable why standing up and speaking out is so scary.  The perpetrator does not have to be powerful or famous in order to for there to be a dynamic where silence seems safer, a dynamic that comes in part from the relationship the perpetrator may have with the victim and in part from the way women are treated in and viewed by our society.  Any breaking of silence must break through all of those barriers, and therefore to me represents a level of courage that I find extraordinary and commendable.

Standing up and speaking out is ultimately good for someone to do, but it also has a spillover good that benefits us all and society as a whole.  So beyond just plain compassion for our fellow human beings, there is great self-interest in doing what we can to create a safe environment for people to come forward.  And I think that starts with a presumption that any spoken accusations are true.  There is more to it, but "I believe you" is a good and necessary start.  Let's assert that.

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