Skip to main content

We’ve updated our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy. By using this site, you agree to these terms.

Geisinger becomes the first member of Risant Health

Matt Lauer firing the latest in a string of accusations involving high-profile and long-buried stories of sexual assault and harassment

DANVILLE, Pa. – The recent wave of accusations of sexual harassment and assault involving high-profile, powerful men – including today’s news about Matt Lauer - shares a common thread: Women remaining silent about the abuse for years, sometimes decades.

A Geisinger clinical psychologist who specializes in women’s issues believes women wait to come forward because, typically, women in the workforce are not in a position of power.

“They have fear of losing a job, not getting a job, not being believed, being embarrassed or being derailed from a career,” said Dr. Julie Hergenrather, Ph.D. “Women tend to blame themselves so there is a lot of self-doubt. For example, they ask themselves, ‘Did I give off a signal I wasn’t aware of?’ And that can really haunt them.”

The steady stream of sexual harassment and assault allegations has been levied against politicians, actors and news anchors, including Lauer, who was on “Today” for two decades and was fired by NBC News after a detailed complaint about inappropriate sexual behavior at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.

And even though victims of sexual impropriety may suppress their feelings, they can still suffer both physically and mentally. Women report experiencing everything from chronic pain and headaches to stress and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). News coverage like today’s can provoke these symptoms.

“With all this attention on sexual harassment coming out in the media, women’s memories are being triggered. They can feel just awful,” said Dr. Hergenrather. “If you’ve been traumatized, it just doesn’t go away.”

Dr. Hergenrather says when a woman finally opens up to what happened to them years later, it is empowering. They feel a sense of relief, especially when they get affirmation from people around them.

Fighting sexual harassment, she says, means helping women, not just punishing men. “Women who go public are likely to be subjected to shaming, especially on social media. It takes courage and bravery to go public.”

Dr. Hergenrather believes the healing process for women who have suppressed sexual harassment should involve therapy but really begins with social support - people who believe them, comfort them and hold them up.

“Healing occurs when a woman can stand up, feel confident, and say to themselves, ‘Even though I had this negative experience, I am valuable. I have an important contribution to make in this world, in this family, in this community. I won’t be objectified by what happened to me. I am loved and I love. I have a life that I value and I value myself.’ ”

About Geisinger
Geisinger is among the nation’s leading providers of value-based care, serving 1.2 million people in urban and rural communities across Pennsylvania. Founded in 1915 by philanthropist Abigail Geisinger, the non-profit system generates $10 billion in annual revenues across 134 care sites - including 10 hospital campuses, and Geisinger Health Plan, with 600,000 members in commercial and government plans. The Geisinger College of Health Sciences educates more than 5,000 medical professionals annually and conducts more than 1,400 clinical research studies. With 26,000 employees, including 1,600 employed physicians, Geisinger is among Pennsylvania’s largest employers with an estimated economic impact of $14 billion to the state’s economy. On March 31, 2024, Geisinger became the first member of Risant Health, a new nonprofit charitable organization created to expand and accelerate value-based care across the country.  Learn more at or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and X.


For media inquiries:

Marc Stempka

Media specialist
Geisinger Marketing & Communications

Content from General Links with modal content