The Other Side of Sexual Harassment
1 December 2017 | 10:30 am
A lot of women who are employed outside the home have been sexually harassed at work. It happens in every industry. Men are inappropriately touching, speaking, or wanting sexual activity from a woman. Whether he’s her boss or someone she works alongside, women deal with uncomfortable and sleazy advances. Undoubtedly, the thought of losing her job crosses her mind.
When the advances come from a boss, women have to think what it will do to her career. Will she get passed over for a promotion, receive a poor review, or lose her job. Advances from a co-worker cause a woman to worry that others will hear about it, ruining her reputation, or separating her from the team.
In Hollywood, it’s no surprise this has been happening. We’ve heard stories of couch calls for decades. These auditions are invitations from intimidators to engage in something sexual so the actor will get the part. In the 60’s and 70’s mothers would bring their daughters to these meetings knowing what would happen. Sexual misconduct also happens after the actor receives the role.
Recently, film producer and co-founder of Miramax, Harvey Weinstein, has been in the news about his sexual harassment of actors and staff. Women have stated they were afraid to speak out, saying that Weinstein could make or break their career. That’s a ludicrous reason for letting it continue. Without putting a stop to it means you value your career over your body, your dignity. When you don’t shut it down you are allowing it to happen. You make the choice of what is more important to you, your body or your career. Once the choice is made, you must live with it. If you don’t put a stop to it, then you are supporting it.
One of the actors speaking out against Weinstein said that Weinstein raped her twice. How does that transpire. There’s only one way: by putting yourself in the same situation again. Then whose fault is it.
Since then many women have stepped forward, telling about sexual misconduct at work. It covers all industries:
Corporate leaders, politicians, athletes, media people, chefs, photographers, animators, talent agents, singers, doctors, professors, deans.
The list keeps growing.
Choosing to let it happen by reason of valuing your job over your body makes you just as guilty as the oppressor. Giving into the situation doesn’t matter if you are an actor, an executive climbing the ladder, a minimum wage earner or any employee. Women need their jobs and worry about losing them in every industry.
In these situations, women have the power. They can take control or give it up. You take control by saying no. There are numerous stories of actors who told Weinstein no and left unscathed. If you don’t shut it down you are participating.
Men should never put women (and vice versa) in a position where they feel sexually harassed; period. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen. There are actions women can do:
- Immediately say NO, making it clear that you mean it.
- Remove yourself from the location. That means physically move away.
- Put a stop to it. Adamantly tell him that you do not accept that behavior and he is never to do that again.
There is no excuse to allow being harassed. If you come up with an excuse you are participating. Excuses are a way to hide your guilt to yourself. You can’t justify letting it happen if you think you will lose your job or for any other reason. You put a stop to it or you are engaging in it.
Imagine what it would be like today if women stood up to their bosses or co-workers a long time ago. We wouldn’t have all these accusations coming out now. We wouldn’t have our daughters subjected to this kind of treatment. Women would have already taught men that the behavior is not allowed. It’s like training a new puppy; sometimes you have to ‘pop him’ in the nose so he will learn.
If you didn’t confront the behavior long ago you have allowed it to continue. You still have the power. Train him at the time it arises. Remaining silent doesn’t stop sexual harassment; it’s participating in it. Take immediate and assertive action, and shut it down.