OPINION: Draining The Sexual Harassment Swamp

By Annette Jordan
The Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, N.C.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Columnist Annette Jordan shares her thoughts on how the reporting of sexual assault allegations is changing too.

The Courier-Tribune, Asheboro, N.C.

Delilah Warner called me out of the blue one day.

I well remembered her from my days as a young reporter. In the ’80s, she was a fixture around town, strikingly beautiful, intelligent, outspoken, a rising star in local and state Democratic party circles, the first African-American woman assigned to Probation & Parole in Randolph County, a ground-breaker.

But I hadn’t talked to her in years.

After chatting for a few moments, Delilah got around to the purpose of her call.

She wanted to tell her story of sexual harassment, feelings that had been stirred up by the accusers of Bill Cosby who had found the courage to come out of the shadows and confront the famous actor.

“I want to get it out of my head,” is how she phrased it. And she wanted to name names.

The latter part concerned me and I gave her my honest opinion. I was reluctant to print allegations against someone, with no charges, no court case and no due process of law. And then there was the whole issue of libel.
We left it at that.

Then came Harvey Weinstein. And Roy Moore. And Charlie Rose. And John Conyers. And Al Franken. And Matt Lauer.

And the #MeToo campaign began to gather steam, woman after woman stepping forth to expose the ugliness of sexual harassment, of powerful men in positions of authority using that power to hurt women, and that it would not, could not, be tolerated any more, and women should not only be encouraged to come forward but be believed as well.

And Delilah Warner contacted me again, this time bypassing the phone and coming directly into the office.
“I have to get it out of my head,” she repeated. “I want to share my story.”

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