Behavioral specialist explains the shift in culture about sexual harassment cases
Kaila Lafferty —
A bombshell out of NBC News as they announce the firing of longtime anchor Matt Lauer, after accusations of inappropriate sexual behavior. But Lauer is just one of the latest high profile media personalities fired this year over allegations of sexual misconduct... Including Fox News host Bill O'Reilly and CBS's Charlie Rose, and it leaves some asking, why are so many people coming forward now, even years after an assault happened.
Experts say, in some cases it takes years to build up the courage. "It's extremely difficult. We live in a culture where people don't believe victims of sexual violence," said Sara Kern, the community sexual assault program manager for Quality Behavioral Health. She said our society has a different reaction to instances of sexual harassment and assault than any other crime. "If someone comes forward that they were sexually harassed, they are going to be asked, what did you do, what did you say, how did you respond” Kern explained, “So coming forward is very difficult feeling that the blame is going to be placed on them."
Kern credits the popularity of #MeToo for starting the conversation on sexual harassment and the increase in reports. She hopes this is the beginning of a change on how our culture treats people who do come forward. "This is a crime that people don't talk about. So it's important that people are being heard and believed," she said.
Sexual harassment and assault happen everywhere... Even in our community,
Since January 1st, Kern said she’s worked with over 150 victims through their program at Quality Behavioral Health. For more information on the community sexual assault program or other resources at QBH just click here.