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Clinton Mayor Janice Kovach

Kovach: ‘Stories and events are rarely black and white’

By Mayor Janice Kovach, May 28 2020 11:58 am

OPINION

Stories and events are rarely black and white. The idea that you are either for survivors without thought or you are against them as a whole diminishes the reality of what it means to be a survivor. Speaking for myself, I have perspective as both a survivor of sexual assault and domestic abuse but I should not have to qualify why I spoke up for “the enemy to women”.  And that in itself is the problem – how many of you have worked with Tom Palmieri, how many of you know Tom and how hard he works to empower women that began with his daughters?

What does it say when women shame other women for standing behind a friend. Why are we at the point where we vilify people who speak their known truth even when it is uncomfortable or does not fall in line with the story we want to tell? This will surely result in its own brand of silencing, and in the end isn’t that just as bad as what we are all fighting against? 
 
I would never dismiss Katie Rotondi’s experience. Her truth is something only she can share and know. I can, however, share my own experiences and do so not to diminish or undermine, but to give a fuller picture of the person being discussed. After 15 years of friendship and personal interactions my experience is valid and valuable to the conversation. We must believe women when they come forward, and we must strive collectively to change the culture of politics in New Jersey and throughout the United States. Believing women is not, however, the equivalent of leaving our capacity for thought and meaningful conversation behind. 

I have spent an entire career lifting and elevating women. I have and will continue to call out bad behavior each and every time I see it happen, whether it is from a man or a woman. There is no room for such behavior any longer, and everyone should know it by now. All of that combined leads to the simple truth: if we want real, lasting change for women in America then we must have a system that engages all people and allows for meaningful, if difficult conversations.

Janice Kovach is the mayor of Clinton and the secretary of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee.  

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