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CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR: Hello, everyone, and welcome to Amanpour and Company. Here’s what’s coming up.
Killing sprees on our streets from London to Chicago and points in between. I speak with two youth activists about proven solutions to prevent this
kind of murder. And —
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LORI HALSE ANDERSON, AUTHOR, “SHOUT”: I think we’re finally getting to the point where the elephant isn’t in the room, the elephant is in every room
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Author, Lori Halse Anderson opens up to our Alicia Menendez and speaks about the reality of sexual violence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATTHEW WALKER, AUTHOR, “WHY WE SLEEP”: Human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Getting eight hours of sleep is no joke. Neuroscientist and best-selling author, Matthew Walker, tells me why our lives may depend on
Welcome to the program, everyone. I’m Christiane Amanpour in London.
When you hear about the U.K. these days, it’s probably because of Brexit, but many Britons are consumed with a much more deadly trend, and that is
the murder raid surging, particularly among the young and among men. It’s a story many in America are used to.
A stunning 550 people were murdered in Chicago last year. That’s far more than in London, where 134 people were killed last year. The difference
though is Chicago’s rate is going in the right direction, it’s going down from a peak in 2016. Whereas, murder here in England is rising. It’s up
more than 50 percent year-on-year here in London.
The latest travesty, 17-year-old, Jodie Chesney, who was stabbed in the back while sitting with friends just outside the capital. The London mayor
has begun to treat the epidemic as just that, a public health crisis, rather than just a problem for the police. And he’s following the example
of cities around the world like Chicago.
So how does it work? Dr. Mahamed Hashi was stabbed as a teenager and is now a youth worker here in London. And Mikey Davis works on the same
issues in his native Chicago, and he comes from personal experience, because at 15 he was incarcerated for armed robbery.
Welcome to the program both of you.
MIKEY DAVIS, PROGRAM SPECIALIST, CURE VIOLENCE: Thank you very much.
MAHAMED HASHI, YOUTH WORKER: How are you doing?
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you about this really serious criminal activity that’s going on in our urban areas. We know that in Chicago the crime rate
is very, very high. The murder rate is very, very high. We have these graphs which are showing massive, massive crime rates. Although in
Chicago, it has been going down. In London, on the other hand, it’s going up. It’s spiking in London. Why do you think, Dr. Mahamed, this is
happening here in London? We’re not used to this kind of level of killing sprees on the streets here.
HASHI: For me, I feel like there’s an historic neglect for our young people. And a lot of the time, they’ve gone for a lot of true (INAUDIBLE)
and a lot of murders and a lot of, you know, serious injuries. And unfortunately, due to the austerity (ph) and the cuts, you have seen
reduction in youth facilities, we’ve seen a reduction in engagement of our young people. And a lot of these people have (INAUDIBLE) and to cope with
it by themselves.
And it’s so unfortunate that they’ve come up with their own coping mechanisms, which makes them really angry and really aggressive and really
difficult to communicate with.
AMANPOUR: So, those coping mechanisms include resorting to knives and things?
HASHI: It includes being frightened and being in fear constantly. And for me, what happens then is without guidance, you look for ways of making
yourself feel more empowered. And I talk from a place of experience. So, I myself was a victim of a stabbing issue and it took five years for me to
be diagnosed with posttraumatic stress, which meant I was hyper aggressive, hyper vigilant, always feeling anxious and I didn’t know how to address
that. And that was me as an educated person with good (ph) support and I work as an adult. And I look at our kids with nothing to support them, and
for me, that is really tragic.
AMANPOUR: So, Hashi, you talked about having been shot, you talked about having been stabbed, you were trying to break up fights and the others.
Mikey, you also had experiences that landed you in jail, right?
DAVIS: Yes, I did.
AMANPOUR: What happened? And just give us an idea about what jail does, what it did to you, but what it does to others. Because again, you know,
we’ve — we see our prisons, certainly prisons in the United States, jam- packed with youth offenders.
DAVIS: Yes. I think it’s different for everybody. For me, it was definitely a learning experience. I was able to find my actual potential
while I was incarcerated. You know, I mean, it was my first time ever reading a full book, you know.
So, I think it works differently for different people. But it definitely has an effect, I wouldn’t wish jail on anybody, you know, but for me. I
mean, it just — that’s what it took for me to actually, you know, wake up and get myself [13:05:00] together and kind of understand that, you know, I
am more than I believed I was and I’m not just that product of my environment that’s meant to be stuck in my environment.
You know, it helped me — you know, I mean, meeting new people. It helped me understand individuals that came from different communities. It helped
me understand that individuals that I once thought was my opposition, we were similar and we had things in common and that we looked the same.
You know, so, for me personally, it was definitely a learning experience. But some of the effects it does have on our community is, you know, once
you do re-enter back into society, you know, you don’t have anything, you don’t have anything to look forward to. You’re struggling to get
employment, you know. So, a lot of the individuals that do come back into society from being incarcerated, it is a struggle and sometimes it makes a
lot of individuals turn back to the community or back to the streets because there’s nothing laid out or no one’s giving any opportunities for
these individuals coming from the streets.
And that’s why I love Cure Violence so much because once re-entering into society, being one of the high participant — I mean, high risk
participants I was at the time of being released from prison, I was able to get ahold of this program, Cure Violence, which was CeaseFire at the time,
and they worked with me on a one-on-one basis to kind of help me change the way I looked at things.
And it was individuals that came from the same background as me. It was individuals that was previously locked up, you know. So, I was able to
receive their message just a little bit more and understand more, you know. So, I just was able to find my potential and be in a participant at this
program, it helped that flourish a little more for me.
AMANPOUR: You work with Cure Violence. And it’s a doctor that started that. Coming back from his work in Africa, right, he figured out that this
violence that he is seeing in his urban areas, that you’re seeing here, that you’re seeing in Chicago, could be described as an epidemic. Just
walk us through the definition of what Dr. Slutkin has defined with Cure Violence.
DAVIS: So, with Cure Violence, I think Dr. Slutkin has actually done a phenomenal job from the way he turned the scope on the way individuals look
at violence. And just like other epidemics, we’ve seen through clusters, through data throughout history and some of the communities that we are
stationed and implemented working in currently in Chicago and even in the other cities in other countries that violence does spread like a disease,
that it is contagious.
And just for a personal example, I remember being just a small kid and being told if someone hits, you hit them back, and I didn’t understand at
that time it was an act of violence that I was being told to do. But Dr. Slutkin has done a great job at breaking it down to the simplest form for
us to understand that it is contagious, that it is contagious, that it does transmit from one individual to the next, and that it is clustering in our
urban communities where there is poverty, where there is violence.
And we understand, and one of the things we have come to understand, that the individuals, the credible messengers that we hire from the communities
and of the community are individuals that can get in between the individuals that we look at us as they may be infected or may have been
traumatized or they deal with this violence, those individuals that come from these communities, they’re the individuals that have the best chance
to step in and try to help treat these individuals and help get them to start changing the way that they think about violence and think about —
AMANPOUR: Do you mean people like you?
DAVIS: People exactly like me, yes. People that come from the community, people that were once a part of the things that go on in those
neighborhoods and individuals that have turned their life around and that have understood that this is a disease and I once was infected.
AMANPOUR: I find that absolutely staggering. Do you agree with that? Is that what you find here in London? Because we’ve seen a horrendous rise in
knife crime. I mean, kids as young as 15 and et cetera just killing other kids with knives.
HASHI: Again, I talk a lot about my own experience, suffering from posttraumatic stress and I didn’t feel like I was in control. For me, what
Dr. Slutkin has come with is he’s saying this is an infection, it’s a disease, as in the person is not to blame. Their situation, their
environment is what is actually festering. And for me, that means you can start looking at a solution without actually blaming individuals with no
solution. Because for me, you can’t move forward like that.
AMANPOUR: But if that’s the case, that it’s an epidemic, that it’s a disease, that you’re all now treating it as a public health menace and
public health crisis as aids was before people got a grip and started methodically trying, you know, to mitigate, how do you fix this problem,
Dr. Mahamed? I mean, you change [13:10:00] society? You throw money at it? How do you fix it?
HASHI: Again, for me, the first thing is — as Mikey has just alluded to, at the end of the day, you have to include the community. You can’t try to
solve the situation within a community without having a relationship with the community or having agents within the community who have bought into
it. And for me, that comes from trust. And that’s something we have to build with, because if I just talk about Brixen, we’ve got people —
AMANPOUR: Now, Brixen is a South London community, it’s had quite a lot of violence in the past.
HASHI: 100 percent.
AMANPOUR: And you run a soup kitchen there. You see a lot of these disadvantaged, troubled and sometimes violent people, youth.
HASHI: That is correct. But for me, also — what I also see is the resilience that these people had to build in order to survive in those
areas. So, when you have people like Karl Lokko who went from being a gang leader to being one of the few people to be invited to the royal wedding.
When you got people like Mack (ph) who has — does (INAUDIBLE) with almost hundreds of kids coming together in unity, in solidarity, to ride together,
to enjoy the outside experience. And for me, what you find is there’s been a huge gap between statutory services and third sector community services.
AMANPOUR: What does that mean exactly? You mean government services?
HASHI: Right. Government services.
AMANPOUR: Right. And not individuals and communities that are having to step in?
HASHI: That is correct. And for me that’s — the big issue with that is that we’ve never felt trusted to deal with our own issues. We’ve never
felt empowered. For me, with Mikey and what his team do, they are inspiring us because they’re showing us it can be done with the community
leading from the front.
AMANPOUR: I think you both visited each other’s areas, right? I mean, you have been to Chicago?
HASHI: That’s — no, I haven’t. Not yet.
AMANPOUR: No. But, Mikey, you have been to Brixton, right?
HASHI: Soon though. Soon though, brother.
DAVIS: Yes, I have been at Brixton. And it was — for me, personally, it was an incredible experience being in the community with Hashi and seeing
the amount of love that the community showed their brother and the individuals that he was working with applauding him and saluting him. You
know, you could just — it just shows that brother is doing tremendous work in his community, that he’s there, that he is respected and that community
trusts that brother. And that’s exactly what every individual that comes from these communities that work for Cure Violence. We look for those
qualities in those individuals that we hire.
AMANPOUR: And again, just to be clear, you do attribute this intervention, Cure Violence and that kind of community intervention, with the decreasing
crime rate in Chicago?
DAVIS: Most definitely. I believe the work that the individuals from Cure Violence on the ground here at Chicago have put in has attributed to the
violence going down. I mean, last year this time we were up 80 murders. This time, this year, we’re down 44 — I mean, we’re up 44 murders but
we’ve cut that in half. And that just shows a lot.
I know everybody plays a part that does the work in this city but we definitely play such a big part in the communities because in every beat,
in every zone, in every target area that this program is implemented in, there has been a decrease in shootings, there has been a decrease in
violence, there has been an increase and more of the community becoming more active.
So, it shows in the data. It shows when individuals from the community that’s doing this work is actually out there that this actually works.
AMANPOUR: So, let me ask you then, Hashi, as Mikey calls you, do you know that authorities here say this is a problem not just austerity that have
cut social services and afternoon programs and all of the other things that are good for young people, but has also cut police on the streets. The
mayor and others say there should be more police on the street. Do you think that is the solution?
HASHI: I think that’s such a short-sided solution, if I’m honest with you. Because at the end of the day, police enforce. And in order to enforce, a
crime had to be already committed. And for me, what we’re talking about, when we talk about community work and community focused work is getting the
community intervene when we see the earliest indicators of these kind of things, it could be public, it could be a young person that’s disconnected
in school, et cetera, and that’s where people like Mikey come in. Because you pick those young people at that point and you start sign posting them
and sharing them with other organizations, with other people in the community. And as a community look after them.
There’s an old African proverb that it takes a village to raise a child. And what we’re doing right now is recreating that village and trying to
protect our children from this environment currently.
AMANPOUR: It’s fascinating. But again, let me just talk about the police and what they say. Well, we talked about the Mayor Sadiq Khan of London
saying a 20 percent cut in police and officers on the street is partly responsible. The head of the Met, the Metropolitan Police, Cressida Dick,
has said that it’s also about drugs.
So, there’s this challenge there’s are a whole group of middle-class or whatever you want to call them, people who sit around and think there’s no
harm in taking a bit of cocaine. Well, there is. There’s misery throughout the supply chain [13:15:00]. Because she’s saying that middle-
class Londoners are busy taking the kind of drugs that obviously have the chain-link effect of dealers and violence and money and competition and
HASHI: Again, for me, if we talk about that kind of aspect of it, if the head of the Metropolitan Police is saying that, for me, the question is,
should you not be enforcing more on those middle-class White people that’s taking those drugs?
Because in order to interrupt — what you’re doing, you’re creating a demand which creates a whole economic business. And for me, what you can’t
do is blame young people when you know where the source is because they’re not importing these drugs in. They’re not the ones who have got the
scientific expertise to package them up. I feel like, for me, personally, they’re victims in a way to, to assist them in that environment. Because
under 16s can’t get a job, under 16s can’t do an apprenticeship. So, what can they do if they’re disconnected from school? And unfortunately, that’s
the gap that right now we’re trying to plug.
AMANPOUR: And I just want to make a point again, just in case people who are watching us don’t realize the actual tangible effects of this system
that Dr. Slutkin introduced, Cure Violence introduced, of treating it as an epidemic and trying to figure out community intervention.
Because now London is taken the example of Glasgow, a big city in Scotland, that have also used the Chicago model. And since it adopted this, the
murder rate has dropped by over half between the years 2004 and 2017. So, it really is a method that works.
Do you get a sense that the authorities or the communities or whatever here in England, not just in London, not just your town of Brixton, but that
this is something that might spread or is there still —
HASHI: 100 percent. So, already in London, we’ve had people that go in (INAUDIBLE), they’ll put together the Youth Violence Commission, alongside
the public health model, which invites both the governmental organizations and community organizations to sit at the same table and talk about issues
first and foremost, map out what issues are going on, map out who can address them, who is the best place to address them, and they are
supporting them from the top down.
And for me, that’s already happened, our former leader in London, Lipekshi (ph), put together Equality Commission to actually identify the communities
that are most likely to be adversely affected by these things. And for me, that means already we have started.
Just today, I was at Scotland Yard talking to the police and they are asking the community’s opinion and how to best engage with these
communities, who should be moving forward and et cetera. So, for me, it’s all happening from the top down.
AMANPOUR: It’s really interesting. Mikey Davis of Cure Violence and Dr. Mahamed Hashi, thank you so much indeed for joining us.
DAVIS: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: And it really is — again, this is community intervention that works. We’ve seen the statistics from Chicago to Glasgow. Let’s see if it
works here in London.
DAVIS: 100 percent.
AMANPOUR: Thank you so much, both of you.
DAVIS: Thank you.
HASHI: Move definitely. Thank you as well.
AMANPOUR: And we now turn to the act of violence that shames so many into silence, and that is sexual abuse. Our next guest says the time to speak
up on the matter has long passed. And instead, we must now shout. 20 years ago, the author, Lori Halse Anderson penned, “Speak.” It was
groundbreaking novel confronting rape and it became mandatory reading in classrooms across America.
Now, enraged by how little the culture has changed, Anderson is braving her personal experience with sexual abuse in her new memoir, which is called
“Shout.” She told our Alicia Menendez why she believes the issue is only getting worse.
ALICIA MENENDEZ, CONTRIBUTOR: Lori, thank you so much for joining us.
ANDERSON: I appreciate the opportunity. Thank you.
MENENDEZ: More than 20 years ago you had a dream, some might call it a nightmare, that led you to write your first book “Speak.” Can you tell me
about that moment?
ANDERSON: That moment came a few months after I had finally gone into therapy. Because 23 years earlier, when I was 13, I was raped and I didn’t
tell anybody about it. And my PTSD and depression had finally gotten to the point where I had no choice, I needed help.
And after I started exploring my trauma in — with a therapist, as a writer, then as a writer, I wanted to explore it in my writing. And this
character showed up one night just sobbing in my head and she wound up becoming the Melinda Sordino, the main character in “Speak.”
MENENDEZ: At the time, you didn’t publicly tie the story in “Speak” to your own story. When did you decide to start sharing that publicly?
ANDERSON: When “Speak” came out in 1999 I began to receive invitations to speak at high schools all over the country. And at first, I just thought I
was supposed to talk about literary elements. But then listening to students’ questions made me realize I had a responsibility to talk about my
experience and to model survivorship. So, it was quite shortly after I started traveling that I began to share my real story. “Speak” is about 10
percent my story. “Shout” is 100 percent.
MENENDEZ: Your new book “Shout” is a poetry [13:20:00] memoir about your experience of surviving. For someone who’s not read it, talk me through
the structure of the book and why you wanted to write it this way.
ANDERSON: Oh, that’s a great question. The book opens with a poem about my father, who is a veteran from World War II and who developed PTSD after
his experience helping to clean up after the Dachau concentration camp.
In order to understand my reaction when I was raped, which is keep my mouth shut and not talk, you need to understand the context of my family’s
silence around issues of violence and hard conversations. We just didn’t talk about those things. So, that’s a little bit — that sets up what
happened to me when I was 13 and then my reactions and how I dealt with that attack very badly, which led to the writing of “Speak” eventually.
The second section of the book is everything that I have learned from survivors for over 20 years. How many victims are out there, how powerful
each story is. And I let my own rage peep through with suggestions about how to change things. And at the end I circle back to my parents, whom I
You know, it’s hard when people die, you still love them, but we have to put that in the past tense, love them so much. And thankfully, they lived
long enough we were able to really do some deep loving work at the end of their lives, which has really strengthened me.
MENENDEZ: But why poetry?
ANDERSON: Oh, poetry is what you write when the subject is very important. You want to leave room for the reader to reflect. And often, when you’re
writing in a traditional prose narrative, you just — it’s the next thing and the sections connect together. Poetry is a punch in the gut or it’s a
hug. And I wanted readers to experience one of those two reactions, and then take a breath afterwards.
MENENDEZ: You share the stories of so many others who have come to you. Is there one story that stands out to you among the many?
ANDERSON: Oh, gosh, there are so many. The one that most recently just took my knees out, I was at a conference a few years ago in Ohio, and a
young girl, she was about 12 years old, was talking about — very quietly, about her sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather. And she had finally
gone to her mom. She had already received the support and was ongoing. But obviously, they couldn’t live with that stepfather after that. So, she
and her mom were living in their car. The stories are endless.
And the victims are not just women. We have to always be really careful that men and boys are victims. On college campus, people who identify as
transgender are more at risk for sexual violence than women, which is shocking. And it’s — I think we’re finally getting to the point where the
elephant isn’t in the room. The elephant is in every room in America.
I believe sexual violence touches every family, and I know the after effects of sexual violence can lead to trauma not just for the victim but
MENENDEZ: Would you read a section from the book for me?
ANDERSON: I would love to read a section. This is the first part of a triptych that really looks at — this is — so, this is an event that
happened just before I was raped. “It, part one, gasoline. Represent the line in “Speak” and I thought for just a minute there that I would start
high school with a boyfriend. Yes, that was me. For a couple of naive days when I was 13 years old. We moved in June, four shards of a family,
one apartment of burnt orange and avocado green, two bedrooms. I bought the good-bye yellow brick road album with my baby-sitting money. The boy
across the street had a motor bike. He siphoned gas for it every night. The trick he said was only to take a little from each car. That way no one
noticed. He grabbed me once, pushed me against a brick wall, hands greased with experience, arms, metal cables looping around and encasing me. I
fought, tried to kick and fail, his mouth dove for my neck and I bit him until I tasted blood. He backed off, furious, cried that human bites were
germ-filled, poisonous. I said I hoped that was true. That boy tasted gasoline dangerous but he wasn’t it. My sour victory did not last long.”
MENENDEZ: What does it take to excavate your memory and write something like that?
ANDERSON: There wasn’t much excavation. I think most victims of sexual violence, and there’s that range from unwanted contact to chronic abuse to
frank rape, those memories are kind of always [13:25:00] simmering under the surface. They help determine how we make our choices on a daily basis
to stay safe.
And I have to always, you know, respect and appreciate the teenagers that I have crossed paths with for 20 years because they have shown me over and
over again how much they need adults to be honest with them about what is out there in the world, and to help them figure out the direction of their
MENENDEZ: Some might expect over the course of more than 20 years your anger would dissipate but it seems your anger has only grown.
ANDERSON: The world has gotten worse, I think. In 1999, we were beginning to see some movement, you know. We were beginning to see victims coming
forward and being not ashamed, asking news organizations to identify them because the people who should be shamed were the criminals who attacked
I think that the rise of the internet, the availability of pornography, a lot of boys learn about sex from pornography. And sadly, there’s a lot of
nonconsensual sex in those videos. I don’t — you know, I have a strong opinion about porn one way or another. But because so many teenage boys
don’t have adults who will talk to them about consent, talk to them about healthy sexuality, if that’s the lesson that they’re learning, they go out
and wind up hurting their partners.
MENENDEZ: Right. To that point, in the U.S., only 4 out of 10 rapes get reported. In 2016 less than 3 out of 10 reported, and of those less than a
third are eventually punished, that’s according to FBI data. Are we where you thought we would be as a society when it comes to talking about and
grappling with this issue?
ANDERSON: You add to that statistic the more than 400,000 untested rape kits that are sitting on the shelves in police departments and those are
from the victims that came forward. We have a system, an ancient system in this country, where the bodies of victims are not important. We are
beginning to see some policy improvements. You have organizations like the RAINN, the Rape Abuse Incest National Network, that is working with police
departments, judiciary and top-level policymakers to enforce the laws that are on the book and then to develop consistent consent-based laws.
We want everybody to feel safe and we want everyone to come forward and report when somebody hurts them. That’s fair.
MENENDEZ: So often in this conversation we tend to make it a very female- focused conversation. When you were going to schools, when you were talking with young people, what are you hearing from young men?
ANDERSON: They’re clueless. They often get one lecture from their parents, that — which is really just don’t get her pregnant and wear a
condom so you don’t get a disease. We still buy into the rape mythology that rape is our bad guys in the bush with a gun. If you’re under 18 years
old, 90 percent of those victims know their attacker, often know him quite well. It’s the guy in your algebra class.
And those are the kinds of encounters that we can prevent by respecting our young men and educating them and explaining what the rules are, the laws,
as well as the rules of human dignity. They’re really open to this.
MENENDEZ: When you have a young man come to you and you can tell that he is questioning himself and the lines that he may have crossed, and is
grappling with, as you said, the fact he has an idea of who the rapist is and that idea is not him, what do you tell him?
ANDERSON: I listen very carefully. They have a hard time saying, “I raped somebody,” but I’ve heard from teenage boys as well as grown men, “Oh, that
regret. Oh, I pushed too far. I crossed the line.” And that is maybe the next step we need to take in the #MeToo movement, is that we have to create
spaces for those kinds of conversations, reckoning sort of a truth and reconciliation. Because a lot of men have harmed women, they were
following the rules they were handed and we have to figure out how are we going to include them in the conversation, make sure first and foremost
that victims are cared for, supported and helped, but also how can we prevent growing another crop of men and boys who don’t understand the
MENENDEZ: One of the things we watched in the wake of #MeToo is a lot of powerful men lose their jobs and then at breakneck speed a conversation
about forgiveness and redemption. But I do wonder when we do get to the point where we, as a society, are able to grapple with that question, which
is what does it look like for one to redeem one’s self?
ANDERSON: I think that’s a decision that every victim/survivor needs to determine. There’s an interesting spectrum where people feel they are —
and I think that when right after an assault, people identify as a victim and then they become a survivor.
And they — I think they’re the ones who are in charge of deciding do I want to have this conversation? Real forgiveness doesn’t come quickly.
Real forgiveness is earned. And that lays down deep roots that allow for growth for everybody.
MENENDEZ: We’re having this conversation in somewhat of a gender binary, you mentioned, of course, members of the trans community and non-binary
individuals but race is also a component. That when you overlay over this conversation, the conversation becomes additionally complicated.
ANDERSON: Thank you very much. I actually think that the intersectionality that we need to be having in all of these conversations
is simplifies things because it allows us to look — we need to — in this country, I wish we could start looking at each other as sisters and
brothers and siblings. And understanding that the conversation around sexual violence often centers on white women, white middle-class women.
Women from Native American nations have the highest rate of sexual violence often by non-native men. Our black girls and women are assaulted at higher
rates. And everybody deserves to be respected and honored and cared for.
MENENDEZ: You have said you want people to share this book with their fathers, their grandfathers, their mothers, and their grandmothers. Why?
ANDERSON: We often look at the victims of today, which is good, but we have victims who have for 70 years been holding their secret. I have
talked to women in their 80s.
And I think they’re listening to our elders giving them the opportunity to share their stories or to even reflect on the stories of others will open
doors for healing for them. And that’s another way to move the conversation forward. We are all a piece of this.
MENENDEZ: I want you to read one more —
MENENDEZ: — excerpt from the book. It’s on page 226.
ANDERSON: Shame turned inside out. Sisters of the torn shirts, sisters of the chase around the desk casting couch, hotel room, file cabinet. Sisters
dragging shattered dreams, bruised hopes, ambitions abandoned in the dirt.
Sisters fishing one by one in the lake of shame. Hooks baited with fear always come back empty. Truth dawn flow when you have been beaten and lied
to but it burns hard and bright once it wakes.
Sisters, drop everything. Walk away from the lake, leaning on each other’s shoulders when you need the support.
Feel the contractions of another truth ready to be born. Shame turned inside out is rage.
MENENDEZ: Are we a society that is ready for women’s rage?
ANDERSON: We make it ready. Society’s never ready for rage because power — people who hold power want to stay in power.
Rage is revolutionary. Rage is what fuels revolutions. I think it’s time.
MENENDEZ: You have said you want to see Me Too moved to Us Too.
ANDERSON: Yes, ma’am.
MENENDEZ: What would that look like?
ANDERSON: That would mean that the shaming and blaming that women sometimes do with each other evaporates. And that we all — I think what’s
called for is a little generosity of spirit.
This is not a competition. There is a spectrum of violence. There’s a spectrum of response.
I mean if we can all be a little bit more gracious with our hearts, that would go a long way to bringing us together.
MENENDEZ: We’ve talked a lot about conversations and the importance of conversations, but I do wonder, do you see a need or an opportunity for
institutional change? And what would that look like?
ANDERSON: Oh, this is a crazy concept but what if the laws were consistent from state to state? What if police departments enforced how to deal with
rape victims and how to deal with potential attackers consistently?
It’s so weird when you look at, for example, how judges treat — they seem to — often are more sympathetic to the perpetrator than to the victim. So
consistency across the country would be the first step.
MENENDEZ: What do you think stands in the way of that?
[13:35:00] ANDERSON: Generations of men who thought that women’s bodies were their property. And those are the men who often are in charge of
policies in their 60s and 70s who grew up at the time when that was the de facto.
Men were allowed to rape their wives. Women had to leave their jobs when they got pregnant.
And they’re resistant, which is why we have to lean on the young a little bit. They see things more clearly and they have much more at stake.
MENENDEZ: Laurie, thank you so much.
ANDERSON: Oh, thank you. I appreciate this.
AMANPOUR: Incredibly important work there. And now we turn to introspection of a different sort.
What if there was something you could do tonight to lower your risk of cancer, lower the risk that you could be in a car crash, lower the risk of
dementia, and make you better at your job? My next guest believes that there is and that it’s called sleep.
Most of us, myself included, get far too little of it. The Neuroscientist Matthew Walker is trying to get us to have a much more honest conversation
about the impact this is having on our sleep-deprived lives.
He’s advised the NBA, the NFL, and the British Premier League, as well as Google and various government agencies. His surprise bestseller is called
“Why We Sleep” and he tells me that so many of those techniques that we use to get more sleep just don’t work.
Matthew Walker, welcome to the program.
MATTHEW WALKER, AUTHOR, WHY WE SLEEP: Thank you so much for having me.
AMANPOUR: Your book has created quite a storm. It’s a bestseller. Who knew that sleep was going to be such — something people were so hungry to
know more about. Did you know?
WALKER: I didn’t have any high hopes for the book necessarily as a first- time author, you know, one never dreams of success. But I think what actually happened was the perfect storm that over the past 40 years, we’ve
seen this remarkable escalation of knowledge regarding why we sleep.
And 40 years ago, we used to say why would we sleep? And the answer is we sleep to cure sleepiness, which is a completely empty answer.
It’s like saying I eat to cure hunger. It tells you nothing about the physiological benefits.
So the science has been remarkable in its expansion. But married with that in lockstep has been this pernicious erosion of sleep time throughout
Back in 1942, the average American adult was sleeping 7.9 hours. Now, that’s down to 6 hours and 30 minutes and that’s the average.
AMANPOUR: And that’s significant, that just one-hour difference?
WALKER: That’s a dramatic difference. I mean you could imagine saying it took mother nature 3.6 million years to put this thing called eight hours
of sleep necessity in place. And then within the space of 50 or 60 years, we’ve lopped off 20 percent of that.
That would be like saying well, I’m going to throttle you and constrain your oxygen by 20 percent so you’re down to 80 percent saturation. Would
that really have a harmful effect?
AMANPOUR: Where did this idea of magic number of eight hours’ sleep come from? I mean how do you measure how much a healthy body needs?
WALKER: So what you can essentially do is it’s almost like a dose-response drug test, as it were. You sort of start scaling back the amount of sleep
and you look at what point does the human being start to fail?
And when we speak about failure, we’re talking about measurements of both brain and body. And what you can see is that as soon as you get below
seven hours of sleep, human beings start to demonstrate impairment.
AMANPOUR: Such as everybody sort of immediately thinks about wow, what would that mean if I was operating heavy machinery or God forbid a car on
the road and I’m drowsy?
WALKER: That’s right. So I mean drowsy driving is a great example. Fatigue-related accidents will actually cost us more lives on our roads
than either drugs or alcohol combined. I mean that’s —
AMANPOUR: Seriously? Today?
WALKER: Today. And you can ask why is that? Why is sleep so deafening in that regard?
Well, when you’re drunk, inebriated or high, you typically respond too late in a car but you still typically respond. When you fall asleep or have
what we call a micro sleep behind the wheel, at that point, there’s no response at all.
So there’s a two-ton missile traveling at 70 miles an hour down the road and no one is in control. That’s why sleep-related driving accidents are
so much more deathly.
AMANPOUR: So let’s dive deeper into what you have sort of discovered. Again, the book is “Why We
And you write, “The World Health Organization has now declared a sleep loss epidemic throughout industrialized nations.” What does that mean epidemic?
And how does that manifest?
WALKER: Well, I think it manifests in the fact that one out of every two people that you pass in the street is struggling to survive on seven hours
of sleep or less. And secondly, we know almost one out of every [13:40:00] three people have some kind of major sleep problem at least once a night
Married to the fact that 10 million people in the last month in the United States, for example, have swallowed some kind of sleep aid over the counter
or prescription. So you can just aggregate these numbers from different examples and you can see this global sleepless epidemic.
And it’s not just in the United States. Here in the United Kingdom, the average sleep time is 6 hours and 49 minutes. In Japan, it’s even worse, 6
hours and 21 minutes.
And again, these are averages. So you can imagine that there’s a large proportion of people who are even lower, maybe five or four hours a night.
And when you marry those statistics with a simple epidemiological fact which is this, the shorter your sleep, the shorter your life. Short sleep
predicts or cause mortality.
AMANPOUR: And why aren’t we sleeping enough? What is changing this in this direction?
WALKER: I don’t think there’s a single factor. I think there’s a constellation of different factors. It’s different for different people.
Certainly, what we found is that work hours have elongated. We’re working longer. We are — as developed nations we are commuting for longer periods
So we work longer hours, then we commute for longer periods of time. No one wants to spend any less time with family or watching television.
She one thing that gets squeezed like vice grips is this thing called a full night of sleep. That together with escalating rates of anxiety. We
know that anxiety is one of the principal causes of insomnia, stress.
Together then with high rates of caffeine use, caffeine is markedly deleterious to sleep. Alcohol is another misunderstood sleep aid. It’s
anything but. It’s very harmful for sleep.
And then finally, we are a dark deprived society in this modern era. And this —
AMANPOUR: What do you mean?
WALKER: Well, you need darkness to actually trigger the release of a hormone called melatonin, which helps time the healthy onset of sleep at
night. And the way that melatonin is released by the brain is when it gets a signal of darkness, the brain recognizes it’s nighttime and releases
But we are constantly going from one illuminated environment to the next. And so our brain, even though it’s 10:00 or 11:00 at night in the home
environment with L.E.D. screens and blue L.E.D. lights —
AMANPOUR: And devices, smartphones, yes.
WALKER: And devices, smartphones. So we’re fooled into thinking it’s daytime rather than nighttime.
AMANPOUR: So what do you think when people say, “Well, I can take some melatonin to help me sleep”? A lot of people say that. Others say, “Well,
let me just take a prescription sleeping pill, an Ambien or whatever the prescription is.” What’s wrong with that?
WALKER: Well, certainly what we know is from sleeping pills, they do not produce naturalistic sleep. They’re a class of drugs that we call the
And sedation is not sleep. People mistake the former for the latter.
Secondly, those sleeping pills have been associated with a significantly high risk of death as well as cancer. And those associations are really
quite strong. So sleeping pills themselves, prescription sleeping pills, do not provide naturalistic sleep.
In terms of trying to dose ourselves with melatonin, melatonin —
AMANPOUR: Catch up on weekends, for instance.
WALKER: Or catch up on weekends. Yes. So I mean — catching up on weekends is an interesting example.
Unfortunately, sleep is not like the bank. You cannot accumulate a debt and then hope to pay it off at a later point in time.
Now, you could ask why can’t — why isn’t there a credit system for sleep? Because there is precedent for this in biology. It’s called the fat cell.
Because during evolution, there were times when we faced feast and we’ve had famine. And our biology evolved to deal with that.
It had a cell that could store energy, the fat cell. So we could spend caloric credit when we went into famine debt.
Where is the fat cell for sleep to store up sleep? The answer is this. We don’t have one because mother nature has never faced the challenge of sleep
deprivation because human beings are the only species that deliberately deprive themselves of sleep.
AMANPOUR: And not only that. I mean I remember when I was first starting out onto the work ladder after university, my friends and colleagues who
had gone to, let’s say Wall Street or big law firms or whatever, made a big show of getting very little sleep.
It was good to get there 5:00 in the morning and leave at 11:00 at night. I mean exaggerated but you know what I mean.
AMANPOUR: And that was considered sort of a rite of passage. I mean that was considered punching your clock and like that, your bosses would see you
working so hard.
Is that also what’s going on? I mean there’s just sort of not a respect for sleep? In fact, the opposite, a disrespect for the “Needy sleepers”.
WALKER: I think you’re absolutely right. I think what we’re suffering right now is with the stigma. Sleep has an image problem, that we look at
people who get sufficient sleep — and I choose that word very carefully — as being lazy or slothful.
And what’s odd is that we don’t always have that opinion. No one would look at an infant sleeping during the day and say what a lazy baby. And
the reason we don’t is because we know that sleep at that time of life is non-negotiably necessary.
But somewhere between infancy and if you look at the data now, even childhood, not only do we abandon the notion that sleep is important and to
be celebrated, it’s something to be chastised.
And in fact, we now have this sort of sleep machismo attitude where people have this braggadocios attitude towards sleep. And it’s very peculiar
considering how essential it is to your survival, your health, and warding off numerous forms of diseases.
AMANPOUR: I mean teens, we know, need sleeps. And teens, particularly men I think, particularly boys, tend to sleep later at night and want to sleep
longer in the morning. And that does mess up sort of schools and their alertness in the morning.
I mean I think there was a movement to try to have schools start later in high school or whatever, but it didn’t get anywhere. I know it was tried
WALKER: Yes, it got past the legislature but it was — it didn’t get signed by Governor Brown in California which is —
AMANPOUR: Why not?
WALKER: — a terrible travesty. I think the theme coming out was that it’s not one size fits all. There was some sort of certainly unclear
I think we will go back again and we will try it. I think we will look back with shame on trying to educate our next generation at 7:30 in the
This is lunacy. Young brains are not in a state of sufficient learning when they are either underslept or woken up too early.
AMANPOUR: So if I wanted to have a coffee with you in the morning and you only had 7-1/2 hours sleep, and I made a date at this time of the morning,
would you come?
WALKER: Probably not, no.
AMANPOUR: Because you’re religious about your eight hours?
WALKER: I am and I don’t mean to be — I’m not trying to sort of project myself as a poster child for the mission that I’m on, despite it being a
mission. It’s simply that I’m selfish.
If you knew the benefits of sleep or actually cumber sleep, you know the detriments that happen when you don’t get enough sleep. You would choose
nothing other than to give yourself a nonnegotiable eight-hour opportunity.
I don’t want to invite cardiovascular disease into my life, nor do I want cancer, nor do I want dementia. All three of them have significant and
causal links to lack of sleep. In fact, the link between the lack of sleep and cancer is now so strong, that recently the World Health Organization
classified any form of nighttime shift work as a probable carcinogen.
AMANPOUR: What time do you go to bed and get up in the morning?
WALKER: I’m sort of a 10:30 to 6:30 kind of guy. I used to be later. I used to like go to bed about 11 and wake up at 7 but as I’m getting older
now, that’s starting to creep back in that. That’s well known.
As you go through the teenage years that you’re describing, we actually start to go forward in time. We want to go to bed late and wake up late.
And then as we get older and older, that shuttles back and slides back. But eight-hour nonnegotiable every night.
AMANPOUR: Well, you know, if I get five hours, I think it’s an absolute miracle. But I do want to ask you about obviously some of the pushback.
The America’s professor of psychophysiology of Laufa (ph) University believes that most adults do in fact get enough sleep and the idea that we
all need eight hours is nonsense. And in your book, you don’t talk about the oppositional science and stuff like that.
And they say, well, you know what, we don’t really know whether there are these causal links between, for instance, obesity or diabetes mimicking
conditions with lack of sleep. And you talk about that in your book.
I mean answer that. Why are people saying, well, maybe you’re just exaggerating and in fact, one size doesn’t fit all?
WALKER: Well, I certainly don’t think one size fits all. I think it’s like saying the adult male needs about 1000 — sorry, 2,500 calories per
day to survive. But depending on your metabolic needs and physiology, you will need more or less.
And the same is true for sleep. But somewhere between seven to nine hours is the optimal. What we know is that once you get below seven hours of
sleep, we can measure objective impairments.
And so I would take task anyone who suggests that surviving on less than seven hours of sleep is something that a human being can do without showing
any deficits. I mean the number of people based on now over 14,000 published cities, the number of people who can survive on seven hours or
less without any impairment, rounded to a whole number and expressed as a percent of the population is zero.
AMANPOUR: See, I’m trying to figure out why I do. I mean I perform at a very high level and I don’t get enough sleep.
WALKER: Yes. And I think a lack of sleep will get you one way or another. It will get you chronically or it will get you acutely. Now, I don’t mean
to frighten you by this.
But one way, it will get you acutely is a car crash and we’ve spoken about that. But I often think about people such as [13:50:00] Margaret Thatcher
or Ronald Raegan —
AMANPOUR: Who made the whole four hours a night?
WALKER: Who suggested four hours a night and —
AMANPOUR: Passionable, yes.
WALKER: Currently, head of states currently in the U.S. who are similarly anti-sleep in that regard and I don’t think it was coincidental that
Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan both went on to develop dementia.
And we now know that insufficient sleep is probably the most significant lifestyle factor determining whether or not you will develop Alzheimer’s
disease. That evidence is very causal too.
It’s at night that the brain cleanses itself from the sticky, toxic protein that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. So you can go into your 50s,
60s, you know, with short sleeping and maybe you divert yourself away from cancer or cardiovascular disease, but maybe it’s dementia that will get
you. Different diseases will get you but sleep — insufficient sleep will ultimately lead to that.
AMANPOUR: And obviously, one of the other major benefits of sleep for young people at school and others, they do their memorizing and their
absorbing of knowledge at sleep, when they’re asleep. People who have gone to school in the daytime and come home and do all of that. So I have read
What though then is the solution? What does somebody like myself or any other people listening to this or people who have read your book who have
had trouble going to sleep or staying asleep or waking up too early in the morning, before seven hours, what should we do?
WALKER: I think it’s hard because different people are struggling with sleep for different reasons. But there are probably at least five things
you can do tonight to start getting better sleep.
The first is regularity. Our bodies love rhythm and sleep is no different. So going to bed at the same time, waking up at the same time, even if
that’s the weekend or the weekday, regularity is key.
Darkness, we’ve spoken about that. Try to dim down half the lights in the house in the last hour before bed and throttle screen time in that last
Drop temperature in the house. We often leave our bedrooms too warm, and your body needs to drop its core temperature by about one degree Celsius or
about two to three degrees Fahrenheit to initiate good sleep.
It’s the reason you always find it harder to fall asleep in a room that’s too hot than too cold. Cold is taking in the right cold direction.
The third —
AMANPOUR: Don’t do exercise. People sometimes think do exercise before you go to bed and that will make you tired but it will probably raise your
WALKER: You have to be a bit careful with exercise. Exercise is great for sleep but probably in the last 90 minutes or 2 hours before bed, your core
body temperature may be too high, your heart rate is too high. That can actually be preventive to sleep.
And the fourth thing would be walk it out. And what I mean by this, don’t stay in bed awake for too long. Because at that point, your brain learns
the association that your bed is the place of being awake rather than sleep. And you need to break that.
So after about 20 minutes, if you haven’t fallen asleep or fallen back, go to a different room. Only return when you’re sleepy and you will relearn
the association between your bedroom being the safe place of good sleep.
AMANPOUR: But where do you go? Do you go to your computer? Do you check online, social media? Do you put the lights on? What do you do in that
walk it out period?
WALKER: Yes. Usually, I would say go to a different room and in dim light, just read a book. If you can, try not to eat. Certainly, don’t
check e-mail or go on to screens.
Some people find meditation wonderfully helpful. And the data behind that — I’m a pretty hard-nosed scientist but when I was looking at that data as
I was researching the book, very powerful.
And in fact, I started meditating and have now been meditating for eight months. And so that’s very useful too.
The final two things, caffeine, and alcohol. So try to abstain from caffeine at least 12 to 14 hours before you go to bed. And the reason is
this because caffeine has a half-life of about six hours. It has a quarter-life of 12 hours.
What I mean by that is if you have a cup of coffee at noon, a quarter of that caffeine is still in your brain at midnight. So a coffee at noon is
the equivalent of getting into bed at night and before you turn the light out, you swig a quarter cup of coffee and hope for a good night’s sleep.
That’s probably not going to happen.
And then the final which makes me — I mean I’m generally an unpopular person but this makes me more unpopular, which is avoid the nightcap.
Alcohol actually will just sedate you.
But when you drink, alcohol will fragment your sleep so it’s littered with many awakenings throughout the night. And finally, alcohol will block your
dream sleep, what we call rapid eye movement sleep too. So those will be the five tips for better sleep tonight.
AMANPOUR: Well, good, I’m going to try them. Matthew Walker, thank you very much indeed.
WALKER: Thank you. Sleep well.
AMANPOUR: That is it for our program tonight.
Thank you for watching Amanpour and Company on PBS and join us again tomorrow night.