In a piece for Time magazine, Kelly, who was among the women who came forward claiming to have been sexually harassed by the late Fox News Chief Roger Ailes, said she thought his ouster marked the start of a sea change. And, she thought so again, when Silicon Valley began to disgorge its own stories of harassment against women.
“Now that we are in the midst of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, many are proclaiming, ‘This is it. It ends now.’ My take? Maybe. But we have a lot of work to do,” Kelly wrote.
After joining the multitude of people who have called to end victim blaming – “There are laws in this country. Wearing a short skirt doesn’t violate them. Shoving one’s tongue down an employee’s throat does” – Kelly said it’s time to “get real about the options that harassment victims face”:
“Report it!” we say. “You have rights!” Easy to say; much harder to do. The thing that keeps harassment targets quiet, in my view, is not that they do not know their options. It’s that they know their options stink.
Go to HR? HR may have to tell the harasser–and he may survive the bout. “He cannot legally retaliate,” people tell us. We know. But we also know the practical realities of starting wars with powerful men. So most women stay quiet. And then if they do find the courage to come forward, the first thing they’re asked is, “Did you report it?” (In my case, I did tell a supervisor that Ailes had harassed me. Nothing was done.)
More women speaking up is huge. But more women in power–at or near the top of companies or industries–is equally important. What women need is someone they feel safe approaching. An outside lawyer whose paycheck is not dependent on the boss, perhaps–Fox News now has such a person. But women will still be reluctant unless they believe this person isn’t loyal to the company first.”