On November 14, 2017, Life Preservers Project in coordination with Women in eDiscovery hosted Fearless: Beyond #MeToo for women to share their stories of sexual harassment and assault featuring guest speaker Barry Herbach.
We are so grateful to the women who participated in the event. Here are just a few of the takeaways the group shared throughout the evening that will help us to begin growing this tribe:
Key take aways from the event:
- POWER IS KEY – Sexual harassment, assault and Rape are about exerting power over or taking power away from a victim, and much less about sexual attraction or gratification. Men and women can be victims of other men or women. Received a very interesting note from a man in our space discussing this exactly:
- “I think you are spot on. When I was at “the big four” there was a huge discrepancy between the top and bottom. I also think that huge offsite parties and conferences with unlimited booze and travel lend to “issues/incidents” that can arise; the percentage of allegations decrease near water coolers in an open floor at 9 am. I am sure I have never been a victim but in talking with my wife and her friends, it seems there is a lot of stuff that goes on that very likely put people in unfavorable situations. I am sure I have made references or comments in 20 years that were inappropriate and offensive, but with heightened awareness it is much easier to see and appreciate the other side’s perspective and be more cognizant of the consequences. Here’s to more people talking and learning.”
- CONFERENCES /EVENTS ARE RISKY– Sexual Harassment/Assault is especially prevalent at industry event (as noted above), and often times women/men feel powerless when the perpetrator is a potential client that can make or break their career and not necessarily a co-worker.
- WE NEED TO SPEAK UP – Women/Men in power need to speak up when they see something inappropriate occurring, it doesn’t have to be hostile, but notice that certain behaviors are not acceptable in the professional sphere. As we each gain experience and or power within our industries we have the ability to guide more junior people and warn them about the risky individuals or situations they may face. Silence is the biggest ally of the perp.
- STOP PROTECTING KNOWN PERPS– many of us are socially friends within the eDiscovery industry and many others, and good guys are given a pass on behavior that is unacceptable because we do not infer malice and/or known bad guys are referenced but not named. It is important that we take a stand for all behavior AND when appropriate warn other potential victims, especially those with little power.
- THE MOMENT IS NOW – Barry and many others noted that we have a fairly narrow window to make this huge trending discussion a long lasting one that enables us to make change. The key is that the men and women speaking today KEEP SPEAKING and that we extend the message to other men and women in other industries.
- WE NEED PRACTICAL TOOLS – We all want to change the whole system, and I think are poised to begin that today, but in the interim victims and potential victims need tangible practical tools to prevent themselves as much as possible from being victimized and resource to act when they have been victimized. We need to educate women/men not just on what sexual harassment/assualt/rape is and how to avoid it, but also about the tools at their disposal if they have been a victim to seek professional, legal and therapeutic recourse.
- INFORMATION IS A PERPS KRYPTONYTE – It may seem impossible to stand up to the perpetrator alone, but two things will best serve to level the playing field:
- Information- if you feel you are being harassed document everything, create a word doc or a folder of each instance, dates, times, corroborating witnesses, any data point to support your narrative.
- Speak up – the first woman who comes forward may not be able to effect change, but perps tend to have a pattern (like Cosby and Weinstein) more voices coming forward validate a story and force an organization to take action.
- WE ARE NOT ALONE – If me too has shown us anything it is that even the most powerful, successful people are also victims. The time for suffering in silence is over. We need to share our truth and pain with each other to lessen the burden of suffering in silence, to protect other potential victims and to change the status quo.
To learn more about Fearless: Beyond #MeToo and how you can get involved contact us: