In a letter to The Baltimore Sun, Professor Nienke Grossman took issue with a columnist who characterized as “willingly silent” people who choose not to speak out about their experiences of exploitation.
“Victims of harassment decide whether to speak out for a whole host of reasons, including their assessments of the impact on their career and life goals, families and reputations, their doubts about whether they may have unwittingly done something to provoke the harassment, and whether they think speaking out will stop the harasser,” Grossman wrote in “Allow victims of harassment to decide whether to speak out” (letter, Oct. 16, 2017).
Grossman wrote in response to an Oct. 13 column titled “The Harvey Weinstein in the room.”
“While we should judge the Harvey Weinsteins of the world and their enablers, we should make sure to give their victims the nonjudgmental space to make their own choices,” Grossman said, adding that society must redress the imbalance of power between men and women before real changes are possible.
“Let’s take care not to blame the victims for their failure to speak up,” Grossman concluded. “Let’s focus, instead, on the enablers of the Harvey Weinsteins of the world, as well as the social conditions that gave rise to them.”