UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Now that former Governor Andrew Cuomo will not face criminal charges for the sexual assault allegations brought against him Eyewitness News spoke with the Mohawk Valley YWCA about the impact of the decision.
“They’re hearing things like, “You’re not believed”, “It’s not worth it”, because it’s your reputation now that’s tarnished and there is no justice here,” said Dianne Stancato.
However, Dianne says that we should look to the cases where there has been justice for hope and encouragement.
“I’m thinking Weinstein, Ghislaine Maxwell, and R. Kelly. These are high profile things. We don’t see what’s happening in the day-to-day business world. We don’t see the alligations that are investigated and are either founded or unfounded and the actions taken. So, that women feel safe and secured and valued in the workplace,” said Stancato.
When asked about how we can encourage women to come forward and create a change in the workplace and other environments, Dianne explains that she thinks there will always be challenges but remember that the state-mandated workplace definition of sexual harassment in order to educate and create change.
“Any unwanted verbal or physical advance sexually explicit or derogatory statement or sexually discriminatory remark that is offensive to the recipient or that interferes with their job performance. I think that emphasis is offensive to the recipient. So, you may think it is not offensive but if the person you’re saying it to thinks it’s offensive, now it becomes harassment,” said Stancato.
In order to create change and prevent these situations, Dianne says the focus needs to be on proper education and making the process of coming forward easier on victims.
“Pay attention in your mandatory sexual harassment training or harassment training at work. Men rarely report this, because if you think there is a stigma against a woman reporting this, imagine if it’s a man reporting this. So, that’s really challenging too. So, we have to make it easier for people to come forward when they have an issue. We have to be receptive and listen and believe them and we have to be thoroughly investigative,” said Stancato.