Last week’s conviction of Harvey Weinstein marked a turning point in the #MeToo movement. As I read the news last Tuesday, I was fixated on the high stakes that would follow this jury’s decision. The significant media attention on this trial meant that the outcomes of the case would have a lasting impact on the how women’s voices are heard and respected, and how future cases are treated in the court of law—as well as in the court of public opinion.
Although there is still much work to be done, the guilty verdicts on two of the charges against Weinstein are evidence that the tide is continuing to shift in the treatment of survivors, and that we are beginning to shed light on perpetrators and calling them out on their reprehensible behavior. The brave women who testified and refused to back down despite any backlash they received, did so because, for the first time, they felt supported and empowered by the millions of people holding them up.
The #MeToo movement was founded by sexual assault survivor and activist Tarana Burke in 2006 to raise awareness of sexual abuse and assault, and to help survivors heal. Ms. Burke intended for her social justice efforts to help remove the silent shame of survivors. What happened, though, was that #MeToo propelled a conversation that was long overdue, and put a spotlight on an issue that is shockingly common and devastating to its survivors, especially when they feel voiceless, alone or discredited. When it comes to sexual assault, victim blaming is rampant in our society. However, in cases of home break-ins, robberies or car accidents, it would be hard to imagine blaming the victim.
More than a decade later, #MeToo was reignited as revelations of sexual abuse, assault and harassment amassed in the film and media industries, politics and corporations around the world. When accusations involve powerful, well-known and seemingly respectable leaders, people often express ambiguity about right and wrong.
Let’s be clear: all people–women and men—deserve to feel safe. And more pointedly, all people deserve to feel safe, especially from sexual abuse, harassment and assault, in the workplace. All of us are responsible for creating that environment and holding each other accountable.
Here at Texas Children’s, regardless of job or title, everyone deserves to come to work or to receive care knowing that this is a safe environment where you will be respected, your personal boundaries will not be crossed, and you will be valued for your hard work and contributions. We have zero tolerance for sexual harassment – or harassment of any kind – in our workplace.
Texas Children’s inclusive and interactive culture thrives on teamwork and mutual respect. Our diverse perspectives, ideas, backgrounds and cultures are the best things about us. And my personal commitment to you is to do all I can to ensure a diverse, inclusive culture that is respectful and safe for every single one of you, every day.