NEW YORK — Of the many moving speeches at Monday's Glamour Women of the Year awards, the magazine's annual celebration of female movers and shakers, one of the evening's moments stood out.
Anita Hill, Aly Raisman, Anna Cardenas and Cameron Russell, four women who have spoken out against sexual harassment and assault in their respective professional fields, took the stage together during the event at Brooklyn's Kings Theater to share their stories.
Raisman, the champion gymnast who led the U.S. Olympic teams in 2012 and 2016, spoke about being sexually abused by longtime USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, which she first revealed in a 60 Minutes interview on Sunday.
"Most people know me as a gymnast, but I am also a survivor," she said onstage. "I am among a huge number of young gymnasts abused by USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. This man held a position of influence and power in the sport for more than 20 years, and the extent of his harm he caused is beyond comprehension.
"More than 130 young women have filed lawsuits alleging abuse by Nasser, and we may never know how many more may be suffering in silence," she added. "I stand here for all of them."
Raisman also condemned "the flaws in the system that allowed this to happen in the first place, and enabled it to continue for decades," saying it's possible that similar incidents could happen again to other young athletes.
The 23-year-old gymnast is one of an increasing number of women who have come forward in the past several weeks to share their experiences with sexual assault and misconduct.
While the allegations continue to roil Hollywood, actress and original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter explained on the red carpet how the entertainment business is just one of many industries reckoning with toxic men.
"It's not just Hollywood, it's politics, it's the tech industry, it's industries all over," she said, bringing up the Roy Moore scandal and how she believes his accusers. "We're not trying to negate what men bring, we're not trying to take over what men bring, we're just trying to add to the conversation, in every part of our lives."
Many of the night's attendees acknowledged that the women-centric awards show felt additionally meaningful in such a charged climate.
"It's been an extraordinary year, and I use that word extraordinary in all of its meanings, because we're in uncharted territories," honoree Nicole Kidman said onstage, before preaching a message of solidarity.
"As much as we gravitate, with all of this going on in the world, to a safe place, to the people most like us — the people whose gender, sexuality, race or politics we share — I’m convinced the galvanization of all of us together is essential," she said.
As for Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, she accepted her Glamour Women of the Year award by paying tribute to the superhero's renewed relevance. On the eve of Gal Gadot reprising her character in Justice League, which opens this week, Jenkins described the new incarnation of Wonder Woman as a "new kind of hero" that Hollywood badly needs.
"We have a lot of problems. And there was this 75-year-old hero that has been brought to life that stands for something very new," she said. "She stands for a new kind of hero, who can be strong and powerful and can fight the bad guy, but also believes in love and thoughtfulness, and a better way."
The rest of the evening featured Serena Williams returning to the spotlight to award a trophy to an emotional Gigi Hadid and Solange Knowles' transcendental meditations. And while "girl power" was the evening's M.O., honoree Samantha Bee couldn't help but point out in her speech that, in a perfect world, women wouldn't have to hold a special event to celebrate one another's achievements.
"I look forward to a time where we can get dressed up and be together and eat fancy finger foods and talk about completely different things, like a time when women's equality will just be a given, where our contributions and our influences and our talents will just be recognized every (expletive) day, not just on special occasions," she said. "Because we have other matters to get to! There are so many things that need our attention!"
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