Michele and Igor seek to dive past the headlines of yet another powerful man charged with allegations of assault or sexual misconduct that have been plastering our television screens, finally bringing awareness to this age-old problem. In this episode, they examine the social psychology and the systemic structures that have allowed for this disgusting behavior to exist in the first place. They speak with Dr. Dacher Keltner—a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley and author of The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence—about the nature of power and why it drives particularly men in power to misread their environments, struggle with empathy, and more easily harass and mistreat the women around them. Then they speak with Dr. Kimberly Lonsway, director of research at End Violence Against Women International, and discuss the barriers in our criminal justice system and our societal disillusionment to the claims of these survivors, why victim behavior doesn’t look the way we expect, and how it contributes to our desire not to believe the unthinkable.
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Michele Jawando is a vice president at the Center for American Progress. Igor Volsky is a vice president at the Center. Sally Tucker is the radio coordinator for Communications at the Center. Rachel Rosen is the senior director of Broadcast Communications at the Center.