2018-04-02

Soledad O'Brien on the #MeToo Movement


The #MeToo movement began in October 2017 by Tarana Burke on Twitter. This hashtag has been shared by many women sharing their stories of sexual harassment. As a leading person in media as n=both a journalist and CEO, Soledad O'Brien has also been involved.

On March 20, Soledad O'Brien spoke at Kean University in New Jersey about the #MeToo movement as part of Kean's Distinguished Lecture Series.

O'Brien's experiences go well beyond the reporting she is best known for by viewers. Besides her work as a journalist, she has become a producer and philanthropist.

Currently, she hosts the political show Matter of Fact with Soledad O'Brien, the crime series Mysteries & Scandals on the channel Oxygen and the CNN documentary series In America.

She is also the co-founder of the PowHerful foundation, which is dedicated to providing financial assistance, opportunities and mentors to young women attending college.

O'Brien began her TV news career in 1987 before graduating from Harvard at WBZ-TV in Boston. She recounted how she was groped by a drunk man at the bar she was interviewing in, causing her to freeze and fumble through her first TV appearance. When she had talked to her boss about it, he had insinuated that it was her fault for placing herself in close proximity to a drunken man. Since then, she is forced to always consider how she is standing, what she is wearing, how close people are to her and what she may be unintentionally inviting. This is a reality many women are faced with.

O'Brien pondered over the importance of #MeToo in the advancement of women's empowerment and the conversation about sexual harassment. She explained how this movement is almost like a "court civil rights struggle."

O'Brien notes the need for women and men to come together in order to eradicate the problem. Shared dialogue is necessary in order to create what could become the new moral code and cultural customs for everyone in the workplace.

O'Brien then presented advice from Gretchen Carlson, a TV commentator, author and chairwoman of the Miss America Board of Directors on what women could do now about sexual harassment. Carlson shares that women must document their experiences, find out what the tape recording laws of one party consent is in their state, seek out help from an attorney to start the process, tell trusted colleagues to get support and encourage men to help women with their allegations.

O'Brien clarifies that while this was great advice, it is not a solution. O'Brien concluded her lecture, emphasizing the need for this conversation to be continued in order to figure out the complicated issue and asked "What is the thing you can do? Because it's going to come to your door at some point. It just will."

Source: http://www.cougarsbyte.com/article/2018/03/metoo  by Abigail Anne Rafael
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