With respect to the New York (N.Y.) attorney general report concerning sexual harassment by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his subsequent resignation, the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA) offers the following statement:
Our work to end sexual violence is broad and far reaching. It means working to end harassment, power imbalances, hostile work environments, and the culture that allows them all to perpetuate. While we at NJCASA believe that Gov. Cuomo’s resignation is a step in the right direction and are grateful for this very meaningful, major stride towards accountability, we know that the subtraction of one person will not instantly resolve the broader toxic climate of harassment, misogyny, violence, and retaliation that is outlined in Attorney General Letitia James’ report. It is now up to N.Y.’s leaders to chart a course forward that will create safer, more equitable environments for everyone.
To those who were victimized and came forward for this investigation: We see you, we support you, and we believe you. We are mindful that for some, contributing to the investigation may not have felt safe or like it would support their journey to healing and wellness – and want to underscore that this choice does not invalidate someone’s experience. For victims and survivors who read the report or ensuing news coverage and felt their own trauma resurge, we want to remind everyone that no one needs to stand alone. Survivors in New Jersey can access free, confidential services via our statewide hotline: 800 – 601 – 7200 or njcasa.org/find-help
We are grateful to our colleagues at the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault, who called for accountability and leadership from the Governor’s office. As N.Y.’s statewide leaders continue to reckon with the fallout, we hope to see NYSCASA’s expertise and guidance recognized and valued. The broader cultural change that will wholly eliminate sexual violence is enormously collaborative – we each have a part to play. We do not at all see Gov. Cuomo’s resignation as the ‘end’ to a story, but hopefully the beginning of a broader shift in how power flows, how abuses are handled, and how we can create a political universe where staffers concern themselves solely with how they will solve pressing problems for their constituents and not if their boss will harm them today.