The #MeToo Movement Helped by 'Strength in Numbers'

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May 9, 2018
Updated 1mo ago

By Madison Alworth

Lauren Sivan wants to show other women who have been victims of harassment and abuse by powerful men that she has their backs.

"It's always easier to stay silent," she said Wednesday in an interview with Cheddar. "And I think before this fall, it was a lose-lose for any woman who wanted to come forward."

Sivan, a TV journalist and outspoken member of the #MeToo movement, is the host of the new Oxygen show, "Abuse of Power." The series exposes men in different professions who use their position to lie, cheat, and mistreat women.

That includes, Sivan said, men like her former boss at Fox News, Roger Ailes, and the disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

"Roger Ailes ran that company. He was the big boss," said Sivan. "You weren't going to make a complaint about your boss to HR, who also worked for your boss. You weren't going to risk your entire career or reputation."

After reports of Ailes's harassment of women at Fox, and accusations against Weinstein, Sivan spoke up about her own experiences with the two men so their other victims would not feel alone.

"There is strength in numbers," she said. That's why she spoke publicly about her experience with Weinstein when several actresses and others came forward about the producer's behavior. "Because we've seen the outpouring of women coming forward with their stories, the climate is changing."

Speaking out is a personal choice, Sivan said, adding that every woman must make that choice for themselves.

"I wasn't worried about my job," she said. "I was worried this is what's going to come up every time someone Googles me."

Still, she was committed to showing her support for other victims.

"The rest of us need to stop looking at the victims for why didn't they do this, or why didn't they," said Sivan. "Stop shaming them for the timeline that they decided to come out and really look at the perpetrators and ask why didn't anyone else stop them."

That's what her show, "Abuse of Power," a true-crime documentary series, aims to do. It looks at a town sheriff, religious leaders, and other men with standing in their communities who exploit their positions of relative power to victimize others.

"If you're a true crime fan, you'll absolutely be into this show," she said, adding: "In each case, justice is finally served in some capacity, but sometimes it takes decades."

Oxygen's "Abuse of Power" has its debut on May 12.

For the full interview, click here.