Yesterday, the Time’s Up movement hosted a panel at the Tribeca Film Festival. As woman after woman shared her story, talked about the future and women’s place in it, one heartbreaking and inspiring moment stood out. While speaking about the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, it was shared that over 2,500 women have sought help from the organization since January 1.
On one hand, it is saddening to think that there are so many women who are being harassed and assaulted who are without the means to pursue justice. On the other, it is stirring to see thousands of women advocating for themselves. “The more people who come out and say me too, we will not only change society, but we will change the law,” said Roberta Kaplan, one of the cofounders of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund at the panel.
In the first two months of fundraising, Time’s Up raised $21 million for its defense fund. Net proceeds from the Tribeca Film Festival event also went directly to the fund, administered by the National Women’s Law Center, to further help women cover legal fees. According to NPR, the fund works like a matchmaking service to pair women with local attorneys. Many lawyers are offering to represent these women on a pro bono basis or for a reduced fee. While the movement was born on the red carpet, it was never intended to stay there. The fund was created predominantly for low-income women across all industries. So far, over 60 industries are represented among the more than 2,500 women ranging from hotel staff to the military to steelworkers to women working in tech in the Silicon Valley.
Ashley Judd, one of the first actresses to publicly accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, shared an essay with the audience. “The facts do remain the facts,” she said. “But we know our preciousness and our fierceness. Healing, dammit, is our birthright.”
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