Welcome to the Women for Women International Book Club! April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, which is why we’ve chosen to read She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement by Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, New York Times journalists who broke the story on Harvey Weinstein’s predatory pattern of sexual harassment and assault.
What is She Said about?
She Said* is a testament to the power that every woman has to impact cultural change by sharing her personal story and supporting women who do the same. Kantor and Twohey chronicle the saga behind chasing down the Weinstein story before pivoting to what the #MeToo movement means for women through the lens of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, as she testified against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Through stunning revelations, She Said provides insider background on the Weinstein investigation and exposes the pervasive systems that protect and perpetuate sexual harassment and gender-based violence. In sharing the accounts of women who survived Weinstein's attacks, the journalists reveal the systems that silence women, and the power of women standing together.
As the focus shifts to Dr. Ford’s story, She Said explores the aftermath for those who speak out and what happens to the women who share their experiences.
*Trigger warning: sexual assault
Check out the discussion questions below and connect with readers on Instagram to share your reactions, thoughts and questions by using the hashtag #WFWIBookClub, and tagging us with @womenforwomen. We want to hear what you think—Share with us your take on the book!
“If the story was not shared, nothing would change.” This is a core message throughout She Said and a foundational message behind the #MeToo movement. What makes sharing our personal stories and experiences so powerful?
What do you believe is the significance of the title “She Said” in the context of the experiences and power dynamics outlined in the book?
What were some of the recurring barriers and risks that prevented sexual assault survivors from publicly coming forward against their attackers?
Attorney Lisa Bloom’s strategy memo advising Harvey Weinstein said, “You should be the hero of the story, not the villain. This is very doable.” What are your reactions to this statement? In the context of people sharing their stories, what does Bloom’s advice say about audiences and perception?
What parts, if any, of the settlement process surprised you? How do unchecked settlements and strict nondisclosure agreements create an environment that protects predatory behavior?
Even before testifying, Dr. Ford felt that Kavanaugh would be confirmed to the Supreme Court regardless of her testimony. But what affected her decision to eventually come forward? What were the effects of her testimony on women and the broader culture?
How can you create a safe space to protect women from sexual harassment—or for women to share their experiences—in the workplace or in your personal life?