Debra Katz appears on NPR’s Here and Now

November 16, 2017

Katz Banks Kumin Debra Katz was interviewed on Here and Now, a news show from NPR. The segment, titled “How the Landscape is shifting for Sexual Harassment Accusers, Accused and Attorneys,” covers how the new environment surrounding sexual harassment has emboldened victims and changed how harassers handle allegations.

The first, most noticeable change has been the quantity of women – and men – who are willing to tell their stories, and are seeking legal help. “We have been busy,” says Ms. Katz. “Everybody who is working this space is experiencing a tremendous uptick in calls.”

A variety of factors are contributing to the increase in reports of sexual harassment, including a feeling among victims that there is a “tremendous safety in numbers,” as Ms. Katz says, and “there is a sense that women will finally be believed.”

While many harassers seem to be losing the power to silence their victims, they are still just as aggressive in response to women publicly outing them. Interviewer Robin Young points to defense attorneys who have aggressively gone after accusers, and threatened legal action if they did not withdraw their accusations and offer an apology.

Ms. Katz however, believes that these scare tactics have stopped being effective. “I’m not seeing the chilling effect. Women are still coming forward in tremendous record numbers.”

Victims have been afraid to speak out for decades, but this moment represents a monumental shift. Women should feel free to speak – “truth is… an absolute defense to defamation.”

This interview was later quoted in an article that appeared on NPR, called “Legal Landscape shifts as more Sexual Harassment Allegations Surface Online.”

Listen the full interview below.

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