Michelle Obama on sexual harassment allegations: 'I can't tell you how sick it makes me'

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During a talk at The Connecticut Forum earlier this month, former First Lady Michelle Obama shared her thoughts about the recent wave of allegations of sexual assault, harassment and misconduct against powerful men.

"I can't tell you how sick it makes me, the more I see the uncovering of the truth that all us women know has been out there, that there is an ugliness there," People reports her saying.

She continued to weigh in on the issue by saying that the recent allegations are proof of just how much work still needs to be done in order to provide safe spaces for women.

"If we want young women to be strong and have voices and advocate for themselves, then we have to realize how much work we have to do,'' she added. "And I'm talking to the men out there, who cannot be innocent bystanders and complacent … watching this happen."

American Association of University Women CEO Kim Churches says when such behavior happens in the workplace it's an issue everyone should speak out against.

"It's really on all of us," she tells CNBC Make It. "It's the responsibility of every employee. If you see something, say something."

Gillian Thomas, who is a senior staff attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union Women's Rights Project, echoes Churches' thoughts and encourages men to do a self-evaluation about how they're responding to certain situations.

"We hear a lot about the idea of 'checking your privilege,' but that's what it really means," she says. "Examine your own life and the ways in which you have or haven't escaped these situations unscathed. Look at your own history with how you come at these issues and educate yourself accordingly."

For professionals who are looking for ways to not only address, but also prevent these situations from occurring, Churches advises employees to not be afraid to ask their employer for proper training.

"Training for staff can identify where we may all have unconscious bias towards men and women, and help create an environment where everyone is welcome in the workplace," she adds.

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