Sexual Harrassment- The News of the Year
These men, whether truly guilty or not, have become names associated with workplace harassment and using their power to manipulate these women. My fear is, that like so many things in society these days, the accusations may not all be truthful and some of what they are accused of doing may have been in a joking manner. I feel that as a society we have become fearful of a joke. We make it to be bullying inside the schools and we have made it harassment in the workplace. Let me add a disclaimer here for the comments that I am sure will follow this * I am in no way saying that these men are not guilty of sexual harassment. I am simply saying that it seems that no one can take a joke these days.
Years ago, I believe that many large companies and institutions were in a "man's club" mentality where women were talked about in a not so flattering way, teased because of their gender and ultimately, the butt end of so colorful jokes and comments. In today's society, that is all considered sexual harassment. At the time, it was just the way things were whether it was right or wrong. I believe that much of that mentality still exists in some places.
Years ago, a hug with a co-worker did not seem to be an uncommon thing, but these days many would say that it was wrong and was a sexual advance. No, it is simply a hug that allows someone to say that they are glad to see you, concerned for you, etc. Do I believe that women have been put into compromising situations for many years at workplaces? Yes. Do I believe that harassment exists in the workplace? Yes. I feel that it is a trending topic in the news today and an outlet for some to gain more attention.
Women's rights are a wonderful thing and I believe that women should not be put into a compromising situation at work (or anywhere), but I wonder just where we draw a line and say that the behavior was simply an act of how things were at the time. Not right or wrong, but simply the way business was ran. The way men behaved and what was acceptable behavior at the time.
I believe with the sexual harassment situations being what they are at this very time, we must take a look back at the way we have behaved in the workplace and see if it could have made anyone uncomfortable and if so, we need to be aware that we could suddenly be in the spotlight with these men. We have to watch what we say and how we say it as our words could make someone feel that we are making sexual advances or innuendos towards them. Being told by a co-worker that you look nice could be what gets you accused. Where do we stand on these issues? Is that sexual harassment? Some would say yes, but I believe that if a co-worker mentions that you look nice they may simply be paying you a compliment.
Years ago, I worked in a restaurant and there was a cook that I did not like at all. He was also a meat cutter and his "freezer" room was near my work station. He would stare out the window that was between the two areas at me daily. I don't feel that it was harassment but I felt odd about his behavior so I immediately spoke to the manager and stacked cases of potatoes over the window as to block his "view". Today, I could probably file charges against him. These are the kinds of situations that I feel may simply be taken too far these days.
Another one of my biggest issues with what is occurring now is that women are coming forward with accusations from many years ago. I am fully aware that women were looked at differently several years ago, but I truly believe that women that were harassed to the point that many are saying they were should have gotten some attention on these guys years ago. If you know someone is asking you into a hotel room or office and exposing themselves to you and threatening you, then you obviously know it is happening to others. I am also concerned as to why anyone would feel that it was okay for a director or co worker to call you into their hotel room to do a booking call or to do any type of work. I am concerned as to why a woman would go into a situation like that. Women are saying that they had heard rumors that many of these men were doing things like exposing themselves, answering the door in towels, asking lewd favors in exchange for work. If that was the rumor, why would you go to the man's room alone? I am not blaming the victims, I am simply saying that I truly don't understand the why's!
It is time that we take a look at our values as a person and as a country and time that we consider how our actions will make others feel. I do feel that in many instances, we may say or do something that taken out of context could make someone feel uncomfortable and could put us in a situation where we are accused of something that truly we are not guilty of.