ArLyne's Diamonds

A running commentary of ideas

Monday, January 08, 2018

sexual harassment - my thoughts

The article stating that sexual harassment creates physical illness really bothers me for a bunch of reasons:
·       They do not define “sexual harassment”   Is a dirty joke as apt to make you sick as being raped?
·       They lump all forms of harassment together
·       They do not show the questions they asked – it is easy to say, “what he did made me sick to my stomach”  which would be a common response – although not a literal one.  Were the questions biased?
·       Physically ill at the moment – or permanent damage?

Most women – I’d say almost all of us – have been sexually harassed.  As I think of my own life:
·       Grew up in the Bronx – received lewd and lascivious invitations almost every day from workers on the street, truck drivers, and teenage boys.
·       Rode the subway to and from work – lots of men stand too close – and we women learned early that our high heels dug into the instep of a man too close was a great way to get him to back off
·       Was a redheaded teenager with a good figure – need I say more?
·       Was “date raped” shortly after I moved to Los Angeles.  YES this bothered me for a few days.  I recall going to a party and not wanting to interact with anyone.  On the other hand, I met a very interesting man at that party that night – and he and I dated for over a year after that event.
·       Walked the Yard at San Quentin – lots of invitations it was really sort of funny, since I’d “heard them all before.”
Now, I know that I am stronger and more balanced (or unbalanced) than most women – and I had a wonderful, accepting, respecting and trustworthy father.  That made a huge difference.   I  AM NOT saying that all women can or even should take it in stride.

Obviously there is a huge range of sensitivity – and we must protect the most vulnerable and the most sensitive.  I’ve been involved in cases where naïve young women blamed themselves and had extreme guilt because some jerk came on to them crudely.  Without intervention one of these women in particular would have ruined her marriage and her life because of the un-earned guilt.
I train managers and staff to understand and avoid harassment of all kinds.  I teach how to conduct neutral evaluations – so that we are not jumping to condemning just because of an accusation.  Due process must be preserved.
Harassment must stop.  Girls and women must continue to come forward.  Now that women have so much power in media, politics, entertainment and the corporate world, we have the clout to stop it.

No more grabbing.  No more inappropriate comments about our bodies and what you want to do with them.  No more demands for favors in order to get the job, the promotion or the raise.  No more touching, taking, raping.