Advocates for abuse victims raise concerns about 'victim blaming' in Gov. Cuomo's remarks

Advocates for victims of sexual abuse say Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s words about the women who have accused him of inappropriate conduct and behavior can be harmful to victims of abuse.

News 12 Staff

Mar 13, 2021, 5:45 PM

Updated 1,219 days ago

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Advocates for victims of sexual abuse say Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s words about the women who have accused him of inappropriate conduct and behavior can be harmful to victims of abuse.
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During a press call on Thursday, Cuomo called his accusers' motivations into question.
"There are often many motivations for making an allegation, and that is why you need to know the facts before you make a decision," he said.
Sexual abuse advocates and victims called out Cuomo's statement, saying it's an attempt to discredit his accusers.
Keith Scott, of the Safe Center, says victim blaming discourages other women who are considering coming forward with workplace harassment accusations.
"Many times when someone comes forward, the accused will say, 'That wasn't me, he or she are making it up, they're lying,' and they'll try to make up something else to discredit the person, whether it's a political motive, financial gain, whatever it is," Scott says.
D.J. Rosenbaum, of North Merrick, says she was victimized by a sexual harasser over 20 years ago and kept quiet about it out of fear.
"It's a sad state of affairs that someone who finds the courage to actually speak up to them is so often labeled a liar for no reason other than the person who caused the harm happens to be a person in the position of authority over that person," Rosenbaum says.
Cuomo has asked New Yorkers to wait for the facts from the attorney general's investigation before passing judgment.
Scott and Rosenbaum agree all sides need to be heard.
“Start by believing, that doesn't mean you start by convicting, but listen to the voices and stop blaming the victim. Let them speak,” Rosenbaum says.
The attorney general's investigation is expected to take about two months.
The advocates for victims of sexual abuse advise victims to reach out to support systems for help, like the Safe Center LI. More information on the Safe Center LI can be found on their website. The organization's 24-hour hotline is (516) 542-0404.


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