Release Date: August 13, 2021
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Carrie Tirado Bramen is the director of the University at Buffalo Gender Institute and a professor of English. An expert in feminist and gender studies, Bramen provided the following comments about regarding New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s resignation amid accusations of sexual harassment.
“I sincerely hope that Governor Cuomo’s resignation helps to energize the #MeToo movement and to encourage individuals who have been sexually harassed to come forward. The New York Attorney General’s report describes how Lindsey Boylan’s public comments about her experience of sexual harassment inspired other women to come forward. There was a domino effect, in the best sense, where one woman gave courage to others. This is why Cuomo and his aides worked swiftly and aggressively to discredit Boylan. They wanted to make an example of her so that other women would be too scared to come forward. Fortunately, their intimidation didn’t work. This is why we need to acknowledge repeatedly the courage of these 11 women who gave testimony under oath about their experience of sexual harassment and humiliation in a climate of fear and vindictiveness.”
“It is also important to add that in many cases a powerful individual is protected by enablers, in this case Cuomo’s high-ranking aides, many of whom are highly accomplished women. The New York Attorney General’s report is an important document on the generational differences among women and how senior women used their entitlement to gaslight and silence younger, less powerful women.”
Bramen believes that the pain suffered by these women, will not be in vain.
“I see it in Latisha James’s concluding words at her Aug. 3 press conference: ‘I believe them.’ These three words validated the 11 women’s legal testimony. That fact that their testimony resulted in the governor’s resignation suggests that there is a sea change happening in our society: The #MeToo generation will no longer tolerate sexual harassment. They refuse to internalize the shame. Instead, they are rightly shaming those who abuse. And we, as a society, are beginning to listen.”