The cost of coming forward: What sexual assault survivors face when speaking out
More and more women have felt comfortable telling the stories of abuse and harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement. But coming forward still carries the risk of retaliation, particularly when someone is a public figure.
Shaunna Thomas, co-founder and executive director of women’s advocacy group UltraViolet, said the women publicly accusing Cuomo, the New York governor, face extreme risk in the process.
Cuomo, she said, has for years been seen as untouchable. Publicly accusing someone at that level of power comes with emotional and mental ramifications, but also with the added risks of being attacked online, enduring campaigns aimed at undermining their credibility, and possibly being fired from a job or not hired for a job because of the notoriety they take on.
“There’s no real path to holding him accountable in a way that doesn’t damage you as the outer,” Thomas said. “It’s going to take a tremendous amount of courage and willingness to put yourself in a position of being attacked by a well-oiled government machine that has been put in place to protect Gov. Cuomo his entire career.”