Kathryn Davis: Don’t forget the ghosts
January 1, 2018
This is in response to an article I read describing an interview Matt Damon gave (an episode of ABC News' "Popcorn with Peter Travers") regarding his views of all the sexual harassment reports and their repercussions to the harassers.
I believe he made some valid points, I also believe that he missed many of the important points. Here is the one I want to highlight, because I think it is one that is often missed by folks just beginning to think about these issues.
I will focus on the entertainment industry, but it would hold true in any environment where a harasser has a position of power, at any level. Mr. Damon is not seeing all the ghosts of women in his industry.
These women, some of them I am sure as brilliant, creative and passionate as men who lead the industry. The sole reason they are ghosts is that they made choices that cost them their careers. The choice may have been to say "no" or to report a harasser. In these cases their careers were road blocked, demolished or at least undermined by the harasser in power and his tribe of protectors.
The second scenario is the woman who walked away from a harassing or threatening environment to maintain her own dignity, mental and physical health. Her chosen career path sacrificed for her sanity and safety.
Having read Salma Hayek's op-ed (New York Times) of what she went through for her art is gut wrenching. She is strong, passionate and courageous. Through a hellish experience she fought tooth and nail for her art and finally was willing to sacrifice a portion of her dignity to save her art, and out of respect and concern for her supporters, colleagues and ultimately the story she felt so strongly about.
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It is clear in her writing that Ms. Hayek has paid a dear price for the sacrifice and continues to be haunted by her experience with a monster. If you, Mr. Damon, feel that a fanny grabber, penis waver, or lewd statement teller deserves to preserve his hard earned professional reputation, I would encourage you to think about these ghosts.
These colleagues you never had in an industry that desperately needs them.
Kathryn Davis lives in Grass Valley.