In the month since the accusations of sexual misconduct by movie mogul Harvey Weinstein surfaced, more and more victims are finding their voice and the courage to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault against powerful and popular men. One of the latest includes former Boston TV news anchor Heather Unruh who, shortly after news of the Wenstein scandal broke, tweeted "I was a Kevin Spacey fan until he assaulted a loved one. Time the dominoes fell."
Weeks later, actor Anthony Rapp accused "House of Cards" star Kevin Spacey of assaulting him when he was 14 years old, and others have since come forward. This prompted Netflix, which streams "House of Cards," to drop Spacey from the show, and Sony to cut him from the upcoming film, "All The Money In The World."
Last week, Unruh revealed the identity of the loved one she mentioned in her tweet: her then-18-year-old son, who was allegedly sexually assaulted by Spacey last summer on Nantucket. The Cape and Islands District Attorney has opened an investigation into the allegations.
Unruh's son is being represented by lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who is renowned for his representation of thousands of victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Unurh and Garabedian joined Greater Boston to discuss the developing case.
If it weren't for the news of the Weinstein accusations, Unurh says the public would not yet know about her son's experience.
"My son always felt, from the beginning, that he wanted to do something to stop Kevin Spacey and to make sure he didn't hurt other people. He just was very, very afraid, and frankly, he was very embarassed," Unurh said. "So this was a touchstone for us."
Unurh says the changing climate surrounding speaking up about sexual assault encouraged her son to come forward. Garabedian added that when one person speaks up, it emboldens others.
"An incredible amount of victims come forward who claim to have been sexually abused," he said. "It empowers everyone."
For Unruh and her son, coming forward has not been without criticism. But Unruh says they have no regrets, and that Garabedian prepared her son well for the backlash he would receive.
“Be proud. Tell the truth. You’re empowering yourself, you’re empowering other victims, you’re making the world safer for children. Be proud," Garabedian said.
Unruh says nearly half a dozen people have reached out to her about Spacey assaulting them, too, at least one of whom are connected to Nantucket. She says they are contemplating going public with their experiences, as well.