Cuomo Accusers Expose Sexual Misconduct, But Is That the Whole Story?

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Cuomo accusers, 11 of them, stepped up and had their stories included in NYS Attorney General Letitia James’s report on the governor’s sexual misconduct. The acts occurred over a period of years, but is it even likely that these make up the whole story?

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

By David Stone

Assorted Ideas, Large & Small

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Reliable surveys tell us that only 31% of sexual assaults end up reported. Although sexual misconduct at work, like that alleged against New York governor Andrew Cuomo, is less serious, reporting levels are likely similar or worse.

Victims shy away for a variety of reasons, but when it’s the governor, those reasons are magnified. Who wants trouble with the most power person in the office? Or the state?

Cuomo Accusers and Those Who Remain Silent

Accusing a powerful man frightens by nature, challenging power that abuses freely. But when the governor’s inner circle routinely downplays or belittles accusers, only the boldest step forward.

Sometimes, it’s downright cruel.

After Cuomo’s first accuser, Lindsey Boylen, went public, Team Cuomo launched an assault aimed at discrediting her. They even leaked confidential documents about her.

A few others, then, came out of the shadows cast by Albany power politics. These women had guts, took real risks, but given the number of years involved, how could they make up more than a fraction of Cuomo victims?

Victims are not synonymous with accusers. Most, research shows, stay silent.

Staying silent

The ranks of Cuomo accusers would almost certainly swell if all felt safe in speaking their minds. And some, like in other real life situations, just don’t want the hassle.

“Let George do it,” has been in common parlance for a hundred years. It means leaving an unpleasant task to someone else and has been the title of films and a radio show. That very human tendency is probably in play but can’t be proven because… Well, because they let George — or Lindsey or Connie — do it instead.

But what about women who are not Cuomo accusers because they were okay with it?

Governor Cuomo is powerful and not without charisma. The possibility that every woman he approached at work found it unacceptable is small. One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor, and one woman’s unwanted touching is another’s harmless flirt.


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