What It’s Like To Want To Be A Female Journalist In A World Of Sexual Assault

female journalist

As young woman who aspires to become a journalist, there is no doubt that I have been incredibly affected by recent sexual allegations by other women within the industry. From Bill O’Reilly to Mark Halperin, and even more recently, Matt Lauer, there is an unease that I, and I’m sure many other women, are experiencing.

When people hear that you want to become a journalist, they give you that look. That look that says, “Why would you ever want to be one of those greedy reporters who only want to push an agenda.” But then I look back at them, and I tell them that having a voice is not greedy, and neither is wanting people to hear it.

We are journalists because we have something to say.

female journalist

We have something to prove.

And more so than ever before, women in the industry are showing the world what that looks like. Unfortunately, however, as more and more sexual allegations are published, it seems as though women in journalism have had their voices taken away from them by  men who was in a higher position than them. This is a tough business, there is no denying that, and journalists are like starving artists, desperately trying to make their way to the top.

The question raised in this is how far is someone willing to go in order to make it?

How many women are willing to be sexually assaulted and then stay quiet about it if it will help them breakthrough in the industry? It is a disturbing concept, I understand, but it is a conversation we all need to have.

With more and more women coming forward about their own sexual assault experiences, it seems as though this is inevitably the kind of world that we live in. Until now, sexual assault in the workforce had always been a “touchy” subject that was  pushed aside. It looked bad for business, and rightfully so. However the brave women in journalism who have called out the men that have violated them are not only inspiring justice for themselves, but for the thousands of other girls like me who hope to never have to go through what they did.

With that in mind, yes, I do sometimes get nervous about being a female journalist. Oftentimes we are accepted more for our on-camera looks rather than what we have to say. “That’s cute,” a  man once told me when I said I wanted to write for The New York Times. I stood there, unable to say anything back to him because I didn’t realize my ambitions were “cute.” Similarly, I’m sure that none of the female journalists who have been assaulted thought that was cute either.

There is a positive takeaway here, however.

It’s that we as a nation have finally recognized that sexually assault is a serious issue that occurs every day, for both men and women. What was once a sensitive and hidden issue, is now right in front of our faces in the headlines and on the news every single day.

To all of my fellow female journalists, you’re voices are not brushed under the table. What you have to say is important, and do not ever let someone allow you think differently.

Cover image via EntityMag