16 de noviembre de 2019
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Hispanic World

Gloria Allred, scourge of rich and famous sexual predators

By Jorge Fuentelsaz

By Jorge Fuentelsaz

New York, Oct 28 (efe-epa).- Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, actor and comedian Bill Cosby, magnate Jeffrey Epstein and singer R. Kelly have something in common: Gloria Allred, the 78-year-old attorney who has defended and is defending women who allege having been sexually assaulted by these celebrities.

"All these cases have in common that a predator has abused his power and perhaps betrayed the trust which had been placed in him, and this has gone on for far too long, but the only way that changes is for women to be brave," Allred told EFE in an interview in New York.

A victim of rape in her youth, Allred responds energetically but without losing her calm control. Although serious and sometimes distant, now and then she does allow herself a smile or tells a personal anecdote, and she is always absolutely convincing, without displaying a shred of doubt, when she speaks of the need to fight for women's rights.

"I have (been fighting) for 43 years. We have been a leading women rights law firm in the United States and we have fought against pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment on the job, gender violence against women ... and this battle continues because there is still so much ... discrimination," she said.

Allred has just been included in the National Women's Hall of Fame, in Seneca, New York, and has received a write-up in National Geographic's issue on "Women: A Century of Change" as one of the 100 women who have contributed the most to advancing women's rights.

She said that with the "MeToo movement" and thanks to famous women who have publicly denounced Weinstein and other alleged abusers, "now women are ... emerging from the fear that has kept them ... subordinated, kept them as second class citizens and ... they are speaking up, they are standing up, they are making sure that their voices are heard."

Allred said that she understands how hard it is for women who have been raped to come forward, noting that after she herself was raped by a doctor in Mexico she didn't report it because she thought nobody would believe a young woman accusing a doctor there.

She also said that every person and every case are different.

"Sometimes people said to me what would you do in that situation. Well, I can't answer that because I have to respect the fact that it is their decision and life is complicated ... like how all of this affects the family, ... affects them at their workplace, ... the impact on the community," Allred said before emphasizing that the majority of her cases have been settled in a confidential manner without going to court.

Her public life, which includes press conferences where the alleged victims have told how they were assaulted or raped and her participation on television programs have also made her a target for the country's more conservative sectors.

But Allred, who regularly travels to New York for work reasons and enjoys wearing bright colors, appears not only to enjoy every public aspect of her career but also feels it is necessary.

"We have to engage in the court of public opinion as well as in the court of law, because in the court of public opinion we become role models for women who can say 'Wow! She can do that without fear, I can be without fear in my life,'" she said.

"I will continue to fight for women rights as long as I am alive, and if I can continue that battle from the ... hereafter, if there is one, I will find a way to do it," she added.

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