In early 2018, in response to the wave of sexual harassment and assault allegations that surfaced at the end of 2017, the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund was created. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), which sponsors the fund, has used this earmarked money to help those affected by sexual harassment or assault to pay for their legal support. And on April 28th, Time’s Up revealed that it is already making a difference for sexual harassment and assault survivors.
The legal defense fund hosted a series of panels as part of the Tribeca Film Festival, featuring speakers who were actresses, activists, journalists, and members of the service industry. Some of the day’s more familiar faces included Amber Tamblyn, Ashley Judd, Whoopi Goldberg, Tarana Burke, and Lupita Nyong’o. Proceeds from the event went to the fund. Speakers shared not only their personal stories as a call to end sexual harassment and assault, but they also spoke about the tangible effect that Time’s Up is already having on low-income women.
In one panel, NWLC CEO Fatima Goss Graves disclosed that, in the nearly five months the fund has been operating, more than 2,500 women have sought financial assistance from Time’s Up, and 67 percent of those women have been low-income. According to Deadline, women in more than 60 different industries — from steelworking to the military — are included among the fund’s clients.
According to NPR, the fund pairs women who have experienced sexual harassment or discrimination with lawyers, and the fund then helps these women pay their legal fees. Even though Time’s Up has been heavily promoted in Hollywood, most of the people who benefit are low-income women who work in the hospitality and service industries.
The fact that so many women have already sought help from the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund shows just how important this organization’s work is. We applaud the work that Time’s Up is doing, and we will continue to support it in its fight to end sexual harassment and assault.