The 38 Women That Have Accused Director James Toback Of Sexual Assault Have Taught Us Brilliant Lesson In Leadership. Here's What It Is.
It would be amiss to discuss sexual assault and leadership in the same article and not first point out that power trips, and abuses of power are exceptionally horrible attributes to any leader or boss in any industry.
And as we've seen in recent news, it will catch up with you in the end.
Which brings me to a more important point, the qualities and strengths of a good leader.
Last week, 38 women spoke out against director James Toback and came forward with their abhorrent testimonies of sexual assault committed against them by him. Since then, 200 more women have come forward with similar stories of Toback coursing, or physically forcing them into sexual acts against their will.
While these courageous women are giving justice an opportunity to prevail, they are also teaching us an extremely relevant and important lesson about leadership.
Selma Blair, and Rachel McAdams went to Vanity Fair to go public with their accounts. They each explained how violated they felt, and that when the assault first happened they never wanted to speak of it again.
If there is one overarching lesson that's worth noting from this whole experience, it's that overcoming fear of rejection and speaking out for something you believe in is the truest form of leadership.
This is what so many people misunderstand about leadership.
It's not about the title you hold, or the amount of power you wield in your industry that makes you leader.
Being a leader is about using your voice and influence for good.
Of course, not all of us have the network to speak out and get attention to the press. Which is why it's such a wonderful time to be in the digital age.
Many of the women who came forward with their sexual assault allegations took to Twitter. And as we've seen with the #MeToo campaign, every voice matters.
We live in a time where, because of the Internet, the world is at your fingertips.
If you want to learn a new skill, you can do that through YouTube. If want to check a fact, you can Google it. If you want to raise money for something, you can start a Gofundme or a Kickstarter campaign.
And if you want to become a thought leader in your industry, you can turn to blog sites and Instagram to build your personal brand and enlighten others on whatever it is that you're passionate about.
News sites, social media platforms, and the the entire Internet has suddenly been flooded with sexual assault accusations in the past few months. And I've heard many of my peers ask, "Why now?"
The truth is, sexual assault has been happening since before women were allowed to join the workforce. But it's becoming a mainstream conversation now because over years and years, decades and decades, one voice turned to two, two turned to four, and so on and so forth.
Women have been speaking their painful truths for centuries, only to be met with a dark silence--or worse, told that they "asked for it," or were only making these accusations to get money or fame.
Still, knowing this was a probable outcome, women came forward.
These are the qualities that make a great leader--and what ultimately enable movement toward a better future.
We've seen this happen within civil rights, as much as we have with emerging technology and entrepreneurship. Blockchain, a tool banks and government are now trying to acquire, was once deemed unethical. Today, it's one of the most enticing and revolutionary tech platforms in the world.
Facebook, a site that was once a measly (and highly questioned) site for college students, is now a conglomerate. It's an advertising machine, an industry standard, and most businesses now have social media teams to run their social sites because of how much it means in our society today.
The first women to ever speak about sexual assault were not taken seriously. Neither was Ben Franklin when he stood in the rain and flew a kite around with a key on it. And neither was Mark Zuckerberg when he first told the world about Facebook.
To be a leader, you have to stand up for what you believe in, even if you know you might not get a good reaction for it.
And as the women who are coming forward and sharing their sexual assault stories have showed us, to be a good leader, you need to be fearless.