Ava DuVernay, Lena Waithe, And Lupita Nyong’o Announce “Time’s Up,” A Legal Defense Fund That Fights Sexual Harassment Across All Industries

January 2, 2018  |  

2017 was the year of women speaking out against sexual harassment and assault. Make no mistake, that was no trend – that movement has continued in 2018. To ring in the New Year on Monday, 300 prominent Hollywood women announced a campaign called “Time’s Up”. Ava DuVernay, Halle Berry, Lupita Nyong’o and others stood in solidarity in an open letter to the New York Times that states, “The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly.”

So, what’s different about this campaign and the #MeToo Movement? Time’s Up takes it farther. While #MeToo gave a voice to women who have been harassed or assaulted, Time’s Up is taking those voices across all industries and is donating money to a legal defense fund to help them fight back. This has the potential to especially help women of color:

The inspiration to represent more women of color in the sexual harassment, assault and gender bias fight, particularly in lower-wage industries, came from a letter written by Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (The National Farmworker Women’s Alliance). The open letter acknowledges their struggle to raise their voices in industries where the harassment doesn’t have as big of a voice as, let’s say, an Ashley Judd or Gwyneth Paltrow:

“To the members of Alianza and farmworker women across the country, we see you, we thank you, and we acknowledge the heavy weight of our common experience of being preyed upon, harassed, and exploited by those who abuse their power and threaten our physical and economic security. We have similarly suppressed the violence and demeaning harassment for fear that we will be attacked and ruined in the process of speaking. We share your feelings of anger and shame.”

So far, the fund has raised over $13 million. Although 300 women announced the campaign yesterday, over 1,000 women in film, TV and theater signed the New York Times’ open letter, and each has given money to support the legal defense fund. Lena Waithe and Aja Naomie King are among them:

The best thing about the Time’s Up campaign is that each woman who signed that letter acknowledged their privilege in having a powerful platform to raise their voices, which gives them a better opportunity of not only telling their stories but of being believed:

“Now, unlike ever before, our access to the media and to important decision makers has the potential of leading to real accountability and consequences.  We want all survivors of sexual harassment, everywhere, to be heard, to be believed, and to know that accountability is possible.  We also want all victims and survivors to be able to access justice and support for the wrongdoing they have endured.  We particularly want to lift up the voices, power, and strength of women working in low-wage industries where the lack of financial stability makes them vulnerable to high rates of gender-based violence and exploitation.”



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