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Sexual harassment survivors talk about the aftermath of going public

Laura Cohn writes, "When former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson reached a $20 million settlement in her headline-making sexual harassment lawsuit against her former boss, now-ex Fox News chief Roger Ailes, she issued a statement declaring that all women 'deserve a dignified and respectful workplace'—and seized the moment to reveal her latest career move.

'I’m ready to move on to the next chapter of my life in which I will redouble my efforts to empower women in the workplace,' said Carlson, who later revealed to Time that she plans to speak out against forced arbitration clauses that require claims like hers to be resolved in private.

Carlson’s statement was remarkable for one simple reason: She has a next chapter. In Fortune’s conversations with plaintiffs, attorneys, and outside legal experts, the consensus was clear—for most women, filing a sexual harassment suit is a career-ender. Even those who’ve won and received settlements or damages from such a case say they’ve found it extraordinarily difficult, both psychologically and professionally, to stage a next act."

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