Editorial: Court cases following #MeToo movement show victims’ bravery in describing abuse
This is the fifth in a series of columns on sexual assault and harassment. The first three are here (1,2,3) and the fourth is here.
Rape is a crime that can take many forms, but it is only one form in a growing menu of options for victims that can force them to confront complex life changes that may make them unable to escape their abuser’s power.
Sexual assault and harassment are just two of the issues that can be the catalyst for women and others to seek professional help after experiencing unwelcome violence.
Here is the story of one woman who found herself in this position and the courageous way she did so.
For many years, Judy began to feel isolated and frustrated as she struggled to gain respect for herself and her work. Her life had been a series of accomplishments, including her becoming a partner in her law firm, then being named to the New York State bars, then the United States Senate and New York City Council.
She had reached many of her goals and yet she felt stuck in a place that felt wrong and unfulfilling. She would have been a good partner to a law firm president. That would suit some partners, she thought, but she still felt unsatisfied.
Judy was a woman of very limited means and she did not have enough money to travel. To be frank, she did not see herself as a travel writer.
It never occurred to her to explore other career options that would have allowed her to travel more often. She didn’t feel she had a choice in career paths or a choice in where she lived.
She did not feel she could pursue other opportunities, especially ones requiring travel.
She did not have the confidence to pursue another job in the legal field.
She had thought about going back to school to take a graduate degree, but she feared “what people will think.” She did not want the stigma attached to having a degree from a women’s college.
In this particular chapter of her life, Judy discovered that she wanted to be a writer.
What made Judy start writing again?
She had been inspired to write by a series of magazine articles about the dangers of being a woman in the legal profession. It was a magazine called The Legal 500.
One of the stories mentioned a young woman who had been fired from her job at a law firm