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Network Effects and the Courage of Reporting Sexual Misconduct

There has been a deluge of women reporting cases of sexual misconduct, far more in recent memory than over the last few years. Rather than mere coincidence, this can be attributed to the network cascade effects we have discussed in class.

It takes an immense amount of courage to report sexual misconduct – having to endure scrutiny from the media, listening to naysayers doubt these claims, and of course risking their careers – especially if the person accused is in a position of power. However, after the first person takes the step in rising up and making a statement, it becomes much easier for others to step up and agree with the first person, without facing all the risks that the first person had.

Furthermore, this also applies to the journalists who have to report these stories. They risk lawsuits and condemnation from those that they accuse, and since in many cases victims would rather not have their names directly mentioned, the only name attributed to these claims is that of the journalist.

In turn, this behavior leads to a cascade, where more and more people feel comfortable in agreeing with those who had spoken before them. In this case, regarding sexual misconduct, network cascades serve to encourage difficult yet beneficial choices that lead to a better society.

article: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/09/arts/louis-ck-is-cut-from-hbo-special-night-of-too-many-stars.html

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