‘ Glam­our’ event unites and in­spires women

Gala high­light: Sex­ual as­sault sur­vivors speak

Chicago Sun-Times - - LIFE - Maeve McDer­mott

NEW YORK – Of the many mov­ing speeches at Mon­day’s Glam­our Women of the Year awards, the mag­a­zine’s an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of fe­male movers and shak­ers, one of the evening’s mo­ments stood out.

Univer­sity pro­fes­sor Anita Hill, gym­nast Aly Rais­man, NYPD of­fi­cer Ann Cardenas and model Cameron Rus­sell, who have spo­ken out against sex­ual ha­rass­ment and as­sault in their re­spec­tive pro­fes­sional fields, took the stage dur­ing the event at Brook­lyn’s Kings Theater to share their sto­ries.

Rais­man, the cham­pion gym­nast who led the U. S. Olympic teams in 2012 and 2016, spoke about be­ing sex­u­ally abused by long­time USA Gym­nas­tics doc­tor Larry Nas­sar, which she first re­vealed on 60 Min­utes on Sun­day.

“Most peo­ple know me as a gym­nast, but I am also a sur­vivor,” she said on­stage. “I am among a huge num­ber of young gym­nasts abused by USA Gym­nas­tics team doc­tor Larry Nas­sar.

This man held a po­si­tion of in­flu­ence and power in the sport for more than 20 years, and the ex­tent of his harm he caused is be­yond com­pre­hen­sion.

“More than 130 young women have filed law­suits al­leg­ing abuse by Nas­sar, and we may never know how many more may be suf­fer­ing in si­lence,” she added. “I stand here for all of them.”

Rais­man also con­demned “the flaws in the sys­tem that al­lowed this to hap­pen in the first place, and en­abled it to con­tinue for decades,” say­ing it’s pos­si­ble that sim­i­lar in­ci­dents could hap­pen again to other young ath­letes.

The 23- year- old gym­nast is one of an in­creas­ing num­ber of women who have come for­ward in the past sev­eral weeks to share their ex­pe­ri­ences with sex­ual as­sault and mis­con­duct.

While the al­le­ga­tions con­tinue to roil Hol­ly­wood, ac­tress and orig­i­nal

Won­der Woman Lynda Carter ex­plained on the red car­pet how the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness is just one of many in­dus­tries reck­on­ing with toxic men.

“It’s not just Hol­ly­wood, it’s pol­i­tics, it’s the tech in­dus­try, it’s in­dus­tries all over,” she said, bring­ing up the Roy Moore scan­dal.“We’re not try­ing to negate what men bring, we’re not try­ing to take over what men bring, we’re just try­ing to add to the con­ver­sa­tion, in ev­ery part of our lives.”

Many of the night’s at­ten­dees ac­knowl­edged that the show felt ad­di­tion­ally mean­ing­ful in such a charged cli­mate.

“It’s been an ex­tra­or­di­nary year, and I use that word ‘ ex­tra­or­di­nary’ in all of its mean­ings, be­cause we’re in un­charted ter­ri­to­ries,” honoree Ni­cole Kidman said on­stage, be­fore preach­ing a mes­sage of sol­i­dar­ity. “As much as we grav­i­tate, with all of this go­ing on in the world, to a safe place, to the peo­ple most like us — the peo­ple whose gen­der, sex­u­al­ity, race or pol­i­tics we share— I’m con­vinced the gal­va­niza­tion of all of us to­gether is es­sen­tial,” she said.

Won­der Woman di­rec­tor Patty Jenk­ins ac­cepted her Glam­our Women of the Year award by pay­ing trib­ute to the su­per­hero’s re­newed rel­e­vance.

On the eve of Gal Gadot repris­ing her char­ac­ter in Jus­tice League, Jenk­ins de­scribed the new in­car­na­tion of Won­der Woman. “We have a lot of prob­lems. And there was this 75year- old hero that has been brought to life that stands for some­thing very new,” she said.


Anita Hill, from left, Aly Rais­man, Anna Cardenas and Cameron Rus­sell spoke out.

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