Last week, Amber Coffman of Dirty Projectors made a string of tweets revealing details of the sexual harassment she suffered at the hands of Heathcliff Berru, founder of Life Or Death PR and Management. He grabbed her arse and, even more uncomfortably, bit her hair. Best Coast immediately tweeted in support of Coffman, calling Berru a scumbag.

And with that, things snowballed. Dozens of women in the industry came forward with accounts of suffering similar treatment; Berru resigned; artists on the Life Or Death roster dropped like flies until eventually, the company dissolved. Berru issued an statement with a (half-arsed) apology and a note that he was going to rehab for drug and alcohol abuse, effectively painting himself as something of a victim.

Ultimately, the backlash for Berru was swift and brutal and the whole scenario ended quickly and with the best possible outcome (even if Berru’s apology feels meaningless). But it does leave the hanging question: why did it take so long?

No. Really. Why? There are literally dozens of women who have come forward after Coffman claiming similar treatment or worse. Many of them said they spoke to their managers and other staff members to complain, or mention that they felt unsafe and yet so many of them were rebuffed. So much of his behaviour was written off as “classic” Berru.

Yasmine Kittles of Tearist relays a horrifying account of inviting Berru to her house to view a recent cut of a music video, which ended with him forcing her hand onto his penis and her “(feeling) like: I know that I have to accept that I am going to be raped”. Thankfully, she was not, but all of her attempts to follow up on an event that left her obviously shaken were immediately dismissed by her manager and male friends as an ‘overreaction’ or ‘not that big of a deal’.

And thus, the question of why is answered. Uncomfortable truths were willingly and knowingly covered up by men who didn’t understand or didn’t care that Berru’s threatening and sexually aggressive behaviour was hurting female musicians. Because it didn’t affect them directly.

It’s not some thing exclusive to the music industry. You can find it across all industries. The culture of fear and shame surrounding sex and bodies that is instilled in women from an early age is manipulated by predatory men, and then women bear the brunt of the guilt. Why did you let him in your house? Had you been drinking? How short was your skirt? Did you lead him on? Over and over, a barrage of questions until it’s easier to just not to talk about it. Everyone is more comfortable that way. Or at least, most people are.

But while it shows the bare bones of a side of the industry we all wish didn’t exist, Coffman’s case also exists as an example of hope. Talking about sexual harassment, even if it’s uncomfortable, can yield results.

Coffman’s admitted to Billboard that her Twitter statement had been something of a venting session. “Sometimes venting on Twitter is just a reflexive thing. I go through phases with that when I take long breaks from Twitter and then I come back. But, sometimes, if I am upset about something and I want to vent about it, I just do it. So that’s really what it was,” she said.

But she’s also pleased with the outcome. “I wish I had said something sooner. I can’t imagine how many more people it’s happened to since my experience. A friend told me there are so many women, none of them are talking, and I said, “Why?” and she said, “Because they’re scared.” I was like, “Well, I’m not.” Anybody who behaves like this deserves to be outed.”

She’s right, of course. It shouldn’t be a career risk to talk about the bad behaviour of powerful men. The more we continue to give a pass to men who harass and abuse women the more normalised that abuse becomes.

“I think that women need to be listened to and taken seriously. And men need to hold each other accountable for how they treat us,” says Coffman. “When you see somebody you know behaving badly, rock the boat, call it out. Don’t be afraid of confrontation. There is no good reason that you could come up with for not defending women.”

Amen to that.