We are grateful to the group of survivors who shared their concerns and ultimately, their desire for change. Doing so in any context is never easy, and to them we say, we hear you. We know that when workers come forward about sexual harassment and assault, they can find the legal system filled with obstacles and difficult to understand. They are too often met with responses that reinforce the fact that our laws, policies, and institutions are not set up to meet the needs of survivors.
The TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund – housed at and administered by the National Women’s Law Center, LLC – was founded to help create safe, equitable, and respectful workplaces for all. Though a frequent ally and movement partner, TIME’S UP is a separate and distinct organization which has no decision-making authority for NWLC or any of our programs and initiatives.
We are deeply committed to centering survivors in everything we do. To date, the Fund has connected more than 5,000 people with legal support, and we have funded almost 275 cases. And we know that for many survivors, a key part of justice and healing is having their stories told. We share the frustration when that doesn’t happen, and actively work to hold the media accountable to be more consistent and inclusive in sharing stories of survivorship. We are also proud of the resources we have invested in these efforts; of the nearly $17 million the Fund has spent since its inception, $15.67 million has gone toward programmatic expenses, including nearly $9.9 million for litigation fees alone.
But we also know that with every “first-of-its-kind,” there are opportunities to improve. We continue to seek and implement feedback in our work, which has led, for example, to requiring that attorneys in our network take trauma-informed trainings, and welcome transparent and honest conversations about how we can do better. We look forward to working together with partners and survivors toward our shared goals of addressing and removing harm and ensuring accountability for perpetrators of abuse.