RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In the wake of Matt Lauer’s termination from the Today Show, 8News went out into the community to speak with women about sexual harassment in the workplace.
8News reporter Aaron Thomas spoke with dozens of women who all agreed that sexual harassment is an issue, but disagreed about what it actually means.
Opinions varied depending on the individual, which could explain why some people wait so long to come forward with allegations.
Henrico resident Valerie Chafee said she was surprised to hear about the latest allegations against former Today Show anchor Matt Lauer.
“I was shocked, disappointed,” Chafee said.
Another shopper Suzanne Ash said she agreed.
“He was one of their key people and I think there were concerns that maybe more coming out and maybe they decided to act swiftly,” Ash said.
The swift decision to let Lauer go has several women thinking that a culture shift may be happening, allowing more victims to come forward.
“Even two weeks ago it took more women sometimes to accuse someone to get reaction from the public,” Ash said.
8News asked several women how they would define sexual harassment.
“It’s different for everybody,” Chaffee said. “Some of it, to me, is pretty blatant: touching, groping.”
Some women worry people may be over-reacting in making their claims.
“You’ve got men and women together every day, and people make comments, they joke,” Ash said. “I don’t think that’s sexual harassment, I think it really has to be of a sexual nature.”
One question among the women is why some victims often wait years to speak out.
“It’s a man’s world on that one, and it’s been that way,” Richmond resident Beverly Harris said. “Maybe it’s becoming less so now.”
Lauer has yet to comment on the sexual assault allegations made against him.