Unofficial Reporting in the #MeToo Era
35 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2019 Last revised: 28 Feb 2019
Date Written: December 20, 2018
In the age of #MeToo, victims of sexual misconduct are coming forward en masse to allege abuse, finding strength in numbers and a growing cultural responsiveness to their claims. Facilitated by innovative technologies, #MeToo is also sparking the creation of new channels for reporting abuse—channels intended to bypass the laws and rules that prohibit sexual misconduct. To make sense of this unexamined development, a proposed taxonomy classifies informal avenues of complaint into four distinct categories: the Traditional Whisper Network, the Double Secret Whisper Network, The Shadow Court of Public Opinion, and the New Court of Public Opinion. While unofficial reporting can advance important ends, the rise of informal accusation also raises concerns that bear directly on the need to enhance formalized accountability for sexual assault and harassment.
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