Sexual harassment victims, experts react to NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo's resignation

Tuesday, August 10, 2021
New York governor Andrew Cuomo resigns
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned Tuesday, a surprise move amid sexual harassment allegations he had vigorously denied.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct from a number of women, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is resigning from office. The accusers include former staffers and a current staffer.

"I think it's long overdue," said Alaina Hampton who sympathizes with Cuomo's alleged victims.

Three years ago she filed a lawsuit accusing then Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan's political operations of retaliation after she reported sexual harassment by a supervisor in Madigan's campaign office.

Hampton said she was triggered when Cuomo described the controversy surrounding him as politically motivated.

"A lot of people believed what I was doing was politically motivated and what I find in these situations with powerful people and powerful elected officials, it's like they are unable to understand the reality of what victims experience in these situations," Hampton said.

Business psychologist Kortney Peagram runs a consulting firm that focuses on leadership, sexual harassment and diversity training. She said victims of sexual harassment are often too afraid to speak up.

" You work so hard for your career and what if no one believes you and then there's retaliation," said Peagram, the president and the owner of Peagram Consulting.

Organizations that tackle sexual harassment in the workplace say training is key.

"We spend a lot of time talking about the problem and we have the opportunity talk about prevention and the solution," said Nabilah Talib, the director of education and training at the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago .

Peagram said she hopes with Cuomo stepping down, other victims of sexual harassment will be more inclined to share their experiences.

"I hope that women and men start to speak up and say that this is happening to me too," she said.