By Jill Filipovic
September 12, 2018
It took 12 women to push one man from his perch. Leslie Moonves, the chairman and CEO of CBS, departed the company after a total of a dozen sexual-harassment and assault allegations were leveled against him — six over a month ago, then six more on Sept. 9 after weeks of discussions but little action on ousting one of TV’s titans.
This is how these cases seem to go: One person speaks out, or maybe two or three talk to a reporter.
Only after the initial accusations are made public do the floodgates open.
This cascading effect — that it’s tough to get anyone to speak out first, but appears almost inevitable that more voices will then follow — illuminates some of the remaining challenges of combatting sexual harassment across our culture.
….We now seem to expect that a harasser will have a long list of victims, whether he (or she) is famous or not.
But there are consequences to that assumption: It inevitably makes it harder for a single accuser to have her claims heard.
When part of validating a claim is seeing who else has had a similar experience, a dearth of other voices becomes a strike against the veracity of the accuser’s story — regardless of fairness.
This, in turn, perpetuates harassment. When multiple accusations becomes the standard, a harasser has more leeway to harass — in some of the highest-profile #MeToo cases, that meant years or even decades of abuse.
Had a single substantiated story been enough to level serious consequences, there would have been less havoc wreaked on women’s lives and livelihoods.
There is, after all, always a first victim.
The remainder of that article is located here, on TIME