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Sexual harassment wrong anywhere

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Dallas Morning News Editorial

The list of powerful men recently accused of sexual harassment and abuse grows longer by the day.

Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein is by no means the first to face allegations. But something seems to have changed: Allegations of his abhorrent sexual acts from woman after woman have unleashed an avalanche of reports that he's far from the only one.

The past three weeks have been a whirlwind: Film director Brett Ratner and actors Dustin Hoffman, Jeremy Piven and Kevin Spacey have been accused. Political analyst Mark Halperin. Michael Oreskes, NPR's senior vice president for news, resigned Wednesday after allegations of sexual misconduct two decades ago. And that's just a fraction of the full list.

Finally, we appear to be in the midst of a cultural shift: Men are being forced to reckon with a lifetime's worth of misdeeds that, until now, society and workplaces simply tolerated. In fact, only last year, we didn't just tolerate this behavior -- we elected a president who bragged about it.

No more.

Dozens are coming forward to tell their stories that fear and intimidation kept dark for decades. The message is clear: This deplorable behavior is not OK.

Not in Hollywood. Not in the media. Not in politics. Not anywhere.

The revelations about Weinstein -- who has been fired from the company he founded -- seem to have lifted the veil on sickening behavior that many long knew about but few spoke of openly. Since then, courageous women and men have started coming forward.

They've included actor and former NFL linebacker Terry Crews, who recounted a story of attending a Hollywood function with his wife when an executive walked over and groped him.

On Oct. 20, actor Anthony Rapp went public with his story, accusing Spacey of making sexual advances toward him when Rapp was only 14. Let that sink in: Spacey is accused of preying on a teenager. He's helped give courage to other men, now coming forward with their own horrific stories. Production on Spacey's popular House of Cards Netflix series has been suspended.

NPR's Oreskes resigned over incidents alleged to have occurred while he worked at The New York Times. That follows other high-profile media cases: Fox News chairman Roger Ailes and the network's top-rated host, Bill O'Reilly, were also ousted in sexual harassment scandals.

One common thread through these tales and those that came before them: Sexual predators and harassers count on fear to keep their victims from coming forward. Which makes it all the more brave -- and important -- that they are speaking up now.

That they had to suffer in silence for so long, while the behavior continued unabated, should give us all plenty to reflect on. But while we watch the continuing parade of firings, resignations, criminal investigations and public shame, we hope the tide is finally turning -- and making workplaces safer for all of us.