Out in the Open·Full Episode

Breaking Silence

For months, we've been hearing countless people speak out about sexual assault and harassment, as part of the #MeToo movement. As a whole, it can look very emboldening. But for the people who choose to go public and make their voices heard, that empowerment can come at a great personal cost. This week, Piya asks: What does it take to break your silence?

This week, Piya asks: What does it take to break your silence?

People carry signs addressing the issue of sexual harassment at a #MeToo rally outside of Trump International Hotel on December 9, 2017 in New York City. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
Listen to the full episode54:00

For months, we've been hearing countless people speak out about sexual assault and harassment, as part of the #MeToo movement. As a whole, it can look very emboldening. But for the people who choose to go public and make their voices heard, that empowerment can come at a great personal cost. This week, Piya asks: What does it take to break your silence?

Here are the stories from this week's episode...

The psychological battle for women who go public about sexual violence

Silence can protect survivors of sexual assault and allow them to heal. Or it can isolate them, and let shame fester. So it can be hard to know when to break it. Lauren McKeon and Manya Whitaker both took several years before going public about their alleged assaults. They speak with Piya about why it can take someone so long to come forward.
 

'I stood alone in pain': A residential school survivor on breaking silence about his abuse almost 30 years ago

Back in the 1980s, Ted Quewezance of the Keeseekoose First Nation spoke out about the sexual abuse he suffered as a young boy at residential school, long before Canada began a national conversation about truth and reconciliation. He tells Piya about the process of breaking silence to himself, his family, his community, the country... and the backlash he faced along the way.
 

When you're deaf, it's hard to admit you don't like it, says woman who got cochlear implants

Bev Biderman was born with a hereditary hearing impairment. She started to lose her hearing as a small child, and by the time she turned 12, she was totally deaf. Then, in her mid-40s, Bev learned that cochlear implants could help her perceive some sounds. She tells Piya about her tough choice to get the implants, and grappling with opposition to them from within the deaf community.
 

This environmentalist didn't speak for 17 years to learn how to listen to his opponents

Environmentalist John Francis took a vow of silence because he worried that he'd stopped listening to people. It was supposed to last one day... but instead, he remained silent for 17 years. John speaks with Piya about how the experience deepened his understanding of the world around him, and why he chose to speak again on Earth Day 1990.


This episode of Out in the Open originally aired on February 25, 2018.

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