Getting beyond the justice lottery of the #MeToo movement

When Fox News program host Gretchen Carlson agreed to a $20 million settlement of her claim accusing Fox News chairperson Roger Ailes of sexual harassment, it helped to spark a movement underscored by the harsh reality that behaviors prohibited under law still manage to flourish in too many workplaces and other settings.

However, for those who have been victimized by sexual harassment and assault, the #MeToo movement remains something of a justice lottery, with some folks more eligible to win than others. A small number of women — mostly in positions of prominence — obtain very large settlements or verdicts in civil claims, and/or pursue successful criminal prosecutions of their abusers. Meanwhile, many others are left to look at these highly publicized outcomes and wonder what it will take to get similar results in their situations.

Please don’t get me wrong. The #MeToo movement is overdue and vitally important. It’s just that there’s a lot more progress to be made before the results obtained in headline-making cases become the norm rather than the exception. This will require cooperative grassroots organizing and support, legal and policy advocacy in the trenches, and media outlets willing to give voice to the stories of all victimized individuals. It also would help if those who are influential within this realm commit to the proposition that the #MeToo movement is not done until it reaches all walks of life.

After all, the chances of obtaining justice should not rival the odds of buying a winning lottery ticket.

4 responses

  1. Thanks for the insight David. You are correct stating there is still so much work to be done. Even though the me too movement exists, I feel that it is only helping those in the entertainment industry. I know that it will not help those in other various workplaces.

  2. Greetings David Yamada,

    Thank you for this post. I have to say you have a way with expressing yourself (and the world) when you wrote,

    “After all, the chances of obtaining justice should not rival the odds of buying a winning lottery ticket”

    That made me laugh! – I feel so much better – Great Analogy – and Now I know what the “Justice Lottery” term means!

    Very Catchy!

    You’re the Best!


    Nancy Drew Fenton

  3. Perhaps the saddest effect of these few large settlements is the fuel it provides to those who discount accusers claiming they are “in it for the money”. We do need to have conversations around appropriate remedies and punishments.

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