So many people knew. But no one stopped it. The perpetrators were promoted, while the sufferers were silenced. It was – and remains – a protection racket.
These are the initial findings of my investigation into sexual harassment and indecent assault in Australia's media and entertainment sector.
When #metoo prompted millions in the US to share their stories, I reflected upon the failure of generations of executives to clean up our industry here. And the reticence of reporters to investigate their own. Then, I tapped out a tweet: "Currently, I am investigating two long-term offenders. Please, contact me privately to tell your stories."
Hundreds of women DMed, PMed, or emailed their experiences: a tsunami of injustice. I asked whether they wanted counselling, legal or police support, before requesting they speak on background, off the record or on camera.
Slowly, we created a network: The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance set up a triage service, while police suggested a checklist for charges. One woman requested a female detective, before making a statement about a historical rape allegation.
The ABC's investigative unit came on board, so I created a co-production with Fairfax Media. These organisations have the most robust resources to uncover the structures protecting the guilty and punishing the innocent.
Some women have found it traumatic, with many triggered by memories. However, most have described it as "cathartic". In one instance, I was the first person she'd ever told. "Please, keep my identity anonymous," she said. "If my husband knew, he'd track down the guy and beat the hell out of him." She's not the only woman worried her partner would seek physical retribution.
Others were concerned about losing their livelihoods, or being trolled on social media. "I was very young and pretty drunk," one said. "I should have pushed him away, but I was scared."
"I'm such an idiot," sobbed another. "I should have reported it to the bosses, but I didn't want him to lose his job. Now I know he did this to so many others, I wish I'd complained."
These women have internalised society's misogyny – a culture of victim shaming and blaming. Of course, the only ones responsible are the perpetrators and power brokers.
Many women did complain but were sidelined, silenced or sacked.
Some commentators want women to be quarantined from men in the workplace, but this reduces promotion and networking opportunities. Other initiatives, like the anonymous hotline at Channel Seven, are good on paper but pointless in practice. Young women don't believe their identities will be protected, and don't trust HR after the Amy Taeuber case.
Nothing will improve until the culture changes at the top. Greater gender diversity sends a signal that sexual harassment will be taken seriously.
This is not happening at one of the country's largest media organisations..
A fortnight ago, the board met to discuss this investigation. The chairman made four jokes about a high-profile harassment case, while a male director sniggered. (Memo fellas: You're running a multi-million dollar company, not a chook raffle at the local pub.)
This is clearly an issue of corporate governance. No wonder women are resigning from media boards, fearing personal liability from potential lawsuits.
It's not only directors who've treated this as a bit of laugh. Managers are engaged in a monstrous game of hide and seek.
During our investigation into Don Burke – the man whose name was mentioned more than any other – we spoke to more than 50 former colleagues and executives.
Many men shared insights into his behaviour. Suffice to say, they knew about his history. Two executives at Radio 2UE refused to pair him with female producers, or rostered only male panel operators.
But few would go on the record because, "I'll never work again. He's too powerful and well-connected." Some said they were ashamed about their impotence. Yet here they are – decades later – as still as statues.
Frankly, these men are frightened. (Now they know how women feel.)
As political philosopher Edmund Burke pointed out, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". In this case, it is good women who are working hard to triumph over evil.
My phone rings relentlessly as they reveal new names. "I can't believe he's still here after five complaints to HR," one said.
So far more than 500 women have come forward, naming 65 men.
This is only the beginning of an investigation that will take years, until all workplaces are safe for those within their walls.
Tracey Spicer is a Fairfax Media columnist.