So much exciting change is happening in women’s philanthropy, but one of the biggest breakthroughs by far has been the overwhelming response to the #MeToo campaign, which helps to break the silence on sexual abuse and harassment. While we all have to measure when and were we choose to tell our stories (and as a therapist I have listened to many accounts, and have helped guide people to make choices about how much they wanted to disclose, and to whom) it is heartening to see so many women willing to take the risk and put their story out there.
For funders in philanthropy, this is an important moment to reflect on how much you are doing to help create a safer culture for women in our country. When women feel safer in their own homes, we will have families bringing up healthier children. When women feel safer in all settings, I believe we will reach critical mass in political leadership and will be able to close the gender gaps across all sectors — even stubborn ones like technology and sports.
But we have a long way to go, and we won’t get there without investing more funding in amplifying the voices of women who have survived harassment and abuse. I am particularly appreciative of Ruth Ann Harnisch’s work in this area. By producing the film The Hunting Ground, Ruth Ann highlighted the ongoing problem of campus sexual assault, and contributed to the wave of women pushing back against a patriarchy that often blames and revictimizes women who have suffered sexual trauma. Seeing the film helped me both as a survivor and as a practitioner who guides other survivors in finding their voice and healing from sexual trauma.
Take a look at what some of the major funders of sexual assault prevention are doing to move our culture to a better place for women. Then consider how you might lend your resources to a worthy cause in the sexual assault prevention funding arena.
More about the Silence Breakers here at Time.