Deep bow to Lauren O'Connor who followed her conscince to file a memo sharing her experiences and concerns about the culture within the Weinstein company. The lead of that memo was the crack that let to the dismantlement of the wall of power, money and silence that protected a predator.
Mindful evolution is a personal way engaging with life circumstances that affect the collective. The mindful approach that Lauren O’Connor takes with respect to what she witnessed and experienced at the Weinstein company offers an example of the relationship between personal choices and collective change.
Amy Goodman sat down with O’Connor for a thorough interview from Sundance where the film, “Untouchable”, which gives voice to the violations against human dignity and personal sovereignty Weinstein’s power and wealth covered.
Her thoughtful consideration of the essential social issues at play, the immense professional and personal cost and challenges that she has paid and the policy considerations are valuable.
I hope her insights into the systemic changes that need to be made to bring equity into the relationships between all humans in their basic rights to dignity, sovereignty over their own bodies, consent and protection to speak out when these aspects of their being are violated get a wide audience.
I hope many of her points are taken up as aspects to focus on within the media round this film rather than the grisly provocative shocking details of the violations Weinstein and others like him are exposed for and may stand trial for that so often are the focus of media coverage.
Here are a few of O’Connor’s points that feel particularly are important to meditate upon individually and collectively as we digest all that is being presented on this case and others like it.
On the paths to speaking out:
It is interesting I think because sitting where we sit today…there seem to be two paths when it comes to standing up to abuse standing up to power. One is localized and a little more private you go to the localized powers that be hat you think will be able to effect immediate change as we already discussed you are often left wondering if any change occurs and are also often silenced. The other path is public and whether you move forward on a private path or public path it is a devils trade. And, I think, when you are positioned publicly it is difficult to conceive just how high the cost of courage is and just how literal the tax on integrity is."
On the cost of coming forward:
“I have hundreds of thousands of dollars of bills that I cannot pay from the last year and a half…there are a lot of legal situation surrounding this… that have required legal support… and in therapy, which is crucial to weathering this and recovering from it. I am in debt and I am employed FT in a good job. There is a real personal cost to all this. When you choose to go public or are made public regardless of whether you do or don’t not have power platform you are thereafter defined by a single instant you are called a victim or survivor called or whistleblower or compliment you have to then operate for the rest of your life every time you walk into a room, whether it is a business meeting, a first date or making a new friend you have to assume that that one moment of your life proceeds you. That someone has already decided who you are.”
“It is ironic, we are in a moment right now that is about consent, ownership of voice, its in direct protest to objectification and yet when you are made into a public figure you risk being objectified all over again by a label.”
On the empowerment and power of solidarity:
“I am so grateful for the women who came forward from the bottom of my heart…. If you are a powerful media figure you can bury one story, you cannot bury hundreds of stories… the solidarity provided by each women who cam forward protected me too.
One of the most beautiful things we have seen happen over the last year and a half is…Rape is often a word associated with shame. We have seen the word rape come out of the closet and in place of shame there is solidarity.”
On the need for social/policy change:
“What I would love to see next is policy to rise to meet social change…. What I think men and women are standing up for a system to protect the abused and not the abuser.”
“Power operates on multiple levels. It operates in professional hierarchy you have juniors seniors presidents CEOs COOs, media (do you have platform, do you have voice, do you not have platform do you not have voice ) power operates across finances (do you have money do you not have money), and it operates across gender. So when we talk about Harvey Weinstein being stacked at 10 and me stacked at 0 those are the measurements.”
“I am really grateful to see due process at play here. But, I also do not think that one man losing his job or going to trail means that the whole world has changed. I think what people we are seeing men and women alike standing up for here and through the whole me too is for the system to change. And a system to change in that it protects the abused and not the abuser and a system that resets the balance of power.”
Amy Goodman is one of my absolute heroes! I am so grateful for her thoughtful in-depth coverage of so many issues the are not covered in the mainstream media and aspects of issues that the mainstream does not address in their coverage of many stories.
Thank you Democracy Now! for holding the highest standards for journalistic reporting, rather than spin or soundbite circulation that dominates.