No surprise in the recent revelations of sexual harassment. Years ago, maybe in the 1990s I recall sexual harassment training being conducted at my former workplace. But the “training” wasn’t enough. There was no enforcement linkage to the training to scare perpetrators from committing acts of sexual harassment. The burden was placed on the victim to come forward. Absent a video or audio recording, or a willing witness not afraid of some type of reprisal, sexual harassment claims came down to she said/he said. Those who came forward faced potential loss of a job, or doors being closed to future job advances. Knowing there was a lack of enforcement slowed any chance of those being harassed coming forward to confront their abuser.
Recently we’ve had many people admitting their acts, apologizing, and trying to walk away into the sunset to restart their lives. Restart lives minus punishment. No time in prison? No loss of money via payment to those they harassed? Yes, they may lose their current job, endorsements, or be banned from their occupation. But, minus losing their freedom via prison time and minus loss of economic power to lead a comfortable life, what punishment are the abusers facing? There are some exceptions. The “doctor” who abused the female gymnasts will be doing jail time. News reporters, entertainment people, politicians for the most part so far appear to be able to skip away without doing time in prison. I have yet to hear of the harasser making a donation to any of the many organizations that must exist to help women deal with abuse.
Their apologies are empty without follow up action, which further demonstrates they truly are sorry. So why do they get a pass? Because we allow them to. It’s the same general historical pass that has been given European American men throughout history in the United States. Many European American slave holders sexually abused female slaves. The histories of those families shy away from admitting that European American males in their family performed such acts. They were never punished for their immoral acts. Is it that some European American males believe they have a right to sexually harass women?
We’re now coming to a point where no female of any age can be left alone with a male, in a room. Has it come down to where we cannot allow any one-on-one meetings of any type with people of the opposite sex? Who can you trust? Obviously not a morning news host and host of a PBS show. Not a Senator, not a Congressman, not a President? Not an actor or entertainment executive? Well, we should have known that sexual harassment goes on in the entertainment industry.
This type of behavior goes on more than we want to admit. I recall within the walls of a federal agency I used to work for hearing of incidents occurring. Managers were either slapped on the wrist with minor punishment, or nothing done at all. In one case a supervisor within Human Resources who sexually harassed one of his employee’s was allowed to maintain his employment while being demoted. But, that supervisor has been able to regain the level of pay he was demoted from. The employee he sexually harassed was eventually fired.
If we keep allowing women to be sexually harassed and allow the perpetrator to apologize, and settle for being fired with no financial compensation to the victims then we are not doing enough. We have yet to hear the other side of the story, if one exist. Are their females in power who are sexually harassing males???