Reporter Danielle Young has come forward to accuse the Reverend Jesse Jackson, 76, of sexual harassment, saying that she had been reluctant to speak out – until now.
On The Root, Young blamed the civil rights activist for having squeezed her thigh and inappropriately grabbed her in a seemingly joking manner.
"Sexual harassment, unwanted sexual attention, grabby or flirtatious old men; we're taught as women to make excuses for them, especially as black women. You're supposed to be A-OK with a touch here, a squeeze there, a dirty look, or even an unwanted grab. You're supposed to laugh—act grateful, even—for the attention," she wrote.
Young said that what happened to her was so casual she barely even considered it a sexual harassment – although it allegedly was – and tried to simply let it go, thinking of Jackson as a "dirty old man."
Recalling the alleged incident with Jackson, Young wrote: "I walked toward Jackson, smiling, and he smiled back at me. His eyes scanned my entire body. All of a sudden, I felt naked in my sweater and jeans. As I walked within arm's reach of him, Jackson reached out a hand and grabbed my thigh, saying, 'I like all of that right there!' and gave my thigh a tight squeeze."
"I was shocked, to say the least," added the reporter. "Even though Jackson had had his hand reached out, I had no idea that he would touch me in a sexual way."
"Honestly," concluded Young, "I think it's worth it for women to speak out against men who simply can't keep their hands to themselves. Because that's where it starts. My silence gave Jackson permission to continue grabbing at the next pair of thick thighs he liked. I'm hoping that my voice does the opposite."
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