Some Thoughts On Sexual Harassment
The recent events regarding the horrific problem of sexual harassment have certainly been a positive development in that people are being held accountable for wrong actions but I do wonder about when the other shoes will finally drop.
First, while the overwhelming majority (95% or more) of the victims of such misconduct are women the fact is that there are men who have been subjected to this kind of conduct.
And yet in many ways they are still dismissed either by a denial that such things can happen or by a joke about how “men always want it”.
We need to start to accept that *all* misconduct is wrong and stop making light of one side of the story. It doesn’t matter if 99.99% of the victims are female, if a man is mistreated then there should still be consequences.
The second issue is more difficult to deal with but it is still serious and important.
Of course most accusations of misconduct are true, this is not something most women would make up. But there are no absolutes and the fact is that some accusations are false.
There are many reasons for these kind of false claims, so I won’t get into a debate over the why, but the truth is they do sometimes happen.
We certainly want to err on the side of caution and we don’t want to make true victims feel uncomfortable in coming forward but at the same time we need to have safeguards in place to protect the wrongly accused. Yet the current climate seems to be convict now, investigate later.
Just looking at Matt Lauer for example.
At this point it does seem that NBC had plenty of evidence (and indeed may have been evaluating this story for some time) but it took just 24 hours from accusation to firing.
Obviously if they had solid evidence that the stories were true then firing was the proper course. But I wonder if some truly innocent men (or women, per above comments) will get trampled by this.
I would think suspension pending investigation and then firing after investigation might be a fairer course in many cases.
And lastly, I can’t help but be struck by the almost instant condemnation from anyone who challenges the official line.
Here we can look at Angela Lansbury as an example.
She made it clear in her comments that sexual harassment of any kind was never acceptable but pointed out that some women (not all women just some) have used flirting/etc as a way of advancement, and that is a true statement.
She didn’t say that because they flirted they deserved to be mistreated, she simply pointed out that if you don’t want to be treated as a sex object then you shouldn’t try to get ahead that way.
While I do think her views are probably shaped in part by her age, I hardly think she is an apologist for sexism, yet she is being blasted for suggesting that not everything is an absolute.
I hope I’m not rambling here and again I am not intending in any way to diminish or justify the disgusting acts of many men out there, but I do think we need to consider and explore all sides of the story