Ripple effects of the #MeToo movement addressing sexual assault and harassment continue to cascade, from Hollywood to academia, sports to politics. For people like Pamela Stafford who are closest to those at particular risk of assault and harassment, such public conversations feel painfully overdue. “I don’t think there’s been as much of a ripple effect as we would like to see,” she said during an interview last week. Growing up alongside a disabled sibling pushed Stafford toward a career in advocacy. And today at The Arc of New Mexico, a non-profit offering services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, she prepares to take on a new role.
As a Ph.D. candidate in the social sciences more than 20 years ago, Duana Welch, 49, had done enough research to know the consequences she’d face by reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. “When women came forward with allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, the woman was the person blamed and the woman was not believed,” she said. “I was very angry that I would pay the price for coming forward. I knew what would happen.”
Like most who’ve had similar experiences, Welch, a relationship expert in Eugene, Ore., kept quiet. She wanted to bury the inappropriate encounters initiated by men who outranked her in the workplace.