Let’s Stop Being Surprised By Sexual Harassment Allegations & Start Believing The Victims

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Matt Lauer
I woke up this morning to the news of Matt Lauer being fired, and I was surprised by how not surprised I was.

I’ve been a fan of The Today Show for years. I record it every day so I can watch it at my leisure (in other words, when my kids aren’t around). I became a bit of a news junkie after 9/11 like the rest of the country, and Matt Lauer was my go-to favorite.

I had never heard that there had been years of sexual misconduct accusations against him. I’m not sure I would have given it much thought a few years ago either. Shame on me, right? After all, it’s part of the business right? People might just be out to get him (or something).

That’s what I might have thought a few years ago, but, now? Now it’s different.

There is a revolution happening among women, and we are starting to speak up. I’m joining them because we need to speak up. But, not just that. We need to stand with the women and believe them. Immediately.

Even if it’s someone we think “would never do that.”

Perhaps I’ve become numb the past few months and that is the reason my reaction is so meh. As the allegations have been coming one after another, I’ve become less and less surprised. That’s how it should be, too. And, frankly, I’ve become less and less “saddened by the news,” too. Now, I’m pissed.

Maybe, just maybe, these women coming forward are starting to change the dialogue in this country in a way that we are starting to believe them. And, I take responsibility for the fact that I wasn’t pissed sooner.

When I saw the news about Lauer this morning, I thought, “Huh. That sucks, but oh well. Guess he’s a dirt bag, too.”

I don’t know any details, I simply saw a headline, but I don’t need to know details.

I don’t need to feel sad for Lauer or any of these other men, because they are responsible for their choices. They are replaceable.

And, while I might have a fleeting thought of “Him too?” I’m also ready to stand with the victims for this reckoning. I’m angry, and I’m glad that men like Lauer and Louis C.K. , and the hundreds of others that have been and will be accused will know that they are no longer able to hide behind their fame, or positions of power in the workplace and get away with their ugliness.

I, too, have been a witness to sexual harassment in the workplace. I never spoke up because I was in a lowly clerical position in a law firm. But, one of the attorneys made sexually harassing remarks to me, and many other women in the office. We just all kept our mouths shut.

But, what I hope for now is that women will stop being saddened by the news. We need to stop being surprised, too. Even if it’s someone we love in the media, or movies, or in our own office at work. We need to stop being saddened and heartbroken for the men that are accused and start believing the victims. We need to stop saying things like, “I don’t understand,” when another person we like is accused.

Because there really isn’t anything to understand. There isn’t anything to be sad about. Angry? Yes. But, sad? No.

These men have been hiding. And, we’ve been letting them by looking the other way, and not giving it a second thought, because, well, that’s show business.

But, now? Now we need to continue to rise up, replace them with the good ones (because, yes, I believe there are still good men out there) and say out loud, “I believe her.”

Photo: Getty