Dear She Said by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey:
Written by the two New York Times reporters who broke the story of several accusations of sexual assault and harassment against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, you provide a detailed account of this investigation and how it evolved over time. You had been recommended to me by both friends and law professors, and I knew your story was one that I would be deeply interested and invested in learning more about.
Let me just get this out of the way: If I could make a Required Reading List for everyone on this planet, you would absolutely be on it.
I don’t just say this because you are an incredibly comprehensive account of this investigation, although that is part of it. The sheer amount of detail you provide is staggering and impressive. And while meticulous attention to detail may be something expected from two journalists, I think it’s a whole different feat entirely to be able to weave them into a captivating, engrossing narrative like you. I never felt lost or weighed down by your detail; rather, you made me constantly want more. And each time, you delivered.
Another reason why you would be on my Required Reading List is the remarkable bravery and courage of the numerous women that you highlight. From the journalists themselves to all of the survivors who came forward to tell their stories of sexual assault, I awed by the risks they were willing to take to make it possible for charges to ultimately be brought against Weinstein.
This brings me to the main reason why this book would be on my Required Reading List for everyone: it exposes so much of what is unjust about sexual assault in the United States and how accusations and allegations are addressed, both culturally and legally. The Weinstein case is a perfect example: he had allegedly sexual assaulted dozens of women over several decades, and yet it took a journalistic investigation for these survivors to feel comfortable coming forward and reporting these crimes. You expose how victims are often silenced with non-disclosure agreements, how certain industries are permeated with sexual violence that goes unreported, how survivors often have to report their allegations in groups in order to be believed by the general public. You also help debunk some of the myths surrounding sexual violence, explaining how trauma from sexual assault may make it impossible for someone to report until years later. You show the humanity behind the survivors that the media often tries to demonize with scathing headlines and false information, thereby perpetuating the myths that we’ve struggle to break free from for centuries.
If everyone had the opportunity to read you and other books like you, I think we would live in a more compassionate society, one that would be less quick to judge survivors’ claims until evidence is presented and stories are heard. Sexual violence is such a nuanced, complex issue, and it can be difficult to know where to even begin a discussion of it sometimes. But you provide us with an excellent starting point.
Most importantly, you deliver an important message to survivors: You are not alone.
Thank you so much, She Said.