In life, I have learned that sometimes it is needful to ask the difficult questions in order to gain a full understanding of the issue and possibly avoid sliding down a slippery slope that leads to a worse situation. That is frequently an unpopular activity and often draws the ire of those who either do not understand the question or the purpose or have an agenda that the question threatens. I have engaged in that activity many times in my life and virtually every time I have been vilified by those who do not like the question or assume that my asking it indicated my lack of empathy or understanding. If they had allowed me to fully articulate my question and the unearth the reasons that prompted the question, hopefully, they would have had a different response. Quite possibly they would not have changed their views but, at least they would not have seen me as the devil incarnate for asking it. I am about to ask another of those and know in my heart of hearts that the question places a target on my back and make me a byword in the minds some.
What is this dangerous question that I’m asking, you ask? Please hear the conclusion of the whole matter before you have an immediate “knee-jerk” reaction. The question is, “At what point does a male being a jerk or someone with raging hormones become sexual harassment?” Let me state, I acknowledge that when a boy or man attempts to touch a female in an unwanted way or location it can qualify as harassment. The basis of my question is not is it WRONG but is every word or deed by a male toward a female or vice versa that is uninvited and unwanted worthy of destroying a career or life? Some will say, ABSOLUTELY because if a guy acts in that manner he deserves whatever he gets. Others would argue, POSSIBLY depending on the level or frequency of his actions. Still, others would say, NO and argue that if a woman does not want the suggestions or physical engagement she can say NO. Sometimes, NO is not enough if the person advancing that boorish behavior and the harasser ignores the request of the female and that can be quite dangerous and so damage the other person mentally and emotionally their lives are damaged if not destroyed. Therefore, I hope you understand I am not diminishing the seriousness of any kind of unwanted and uninvited sexual advance either physical or verbal.
I believe this question and issue is worthy of consideration, not to justify any boorish behavior but to find some realistic manner of dealing with the issue. Being made to feel uncomfortable I differentiate from real sexual harassment. The latter is NEVER OKAY, and the former reflects the character and possibly life training from youth, not to be excused but does it come to the level of destroying a career over? There was a time when sexual harassment meant that the harasser exercised power either of position or physical and attempted to force the victim to submit to sexual activities. It might be a threat of losing a job, not receiving a position or role, failure to receive an endorsement, and much more. THAT IS REPREHENSIBLE! Anyone who, for any reason, preys on those with whom they can exercise power or influence is a diabolical soul, in my view.
This is not a justification, but in my day (teen years and early adulthood), many males would press the issue sexually as far as the female would tolerate or accept. Boys and even men would brush against, pinch, or otherwise touch when they could. Many times, I’ve witnessed the female’s reaction of giving a quick slap to the face and a verbal castigation leaving no doubt that this was UNACCEPTABLE. I understand that some males seem to go deaf when in the presence of a female they have sexual designs on but most of the people I have known knew that when there was a NO the brakes were applied. I understand that we are not talking about dating but “sexual harassment”. Sexual harassment MUST or SHOULD include a situation of more than two people talking and a guy complimenting a woman regarding her appearance. It seems that we are nearing the point where you cannot even look in the direction of a woman without the fear of being accused of “sexual harassment.” Most of my life, I have complimented women on their appearance but often refrain from that today because of the PC Climate that exists today. No, I do not bow to Political Correctness usually, but this has become so epidemic I do not wish to waste time on fighting false accusations that tend to have no winners. I have long practiced opening the doors for females but with some of the looks and things said, I wonder when that too will become “sexual harassment.”
I recently saw a study that reported that 70% of women believe other women have been sexually harassed but only 21% believe they themselves have. I’m not sure what the other 9% think but that is a most interesting statistic. However, let me be first in line to say 21% is FAR TOO HIGH and reveals a reason to address the issue. Like most issues that deal with behavior and interaction between sexes or person to person, the training MUST begin in the home. Yet, sometimes even the best efforts of parents fail to resonate and take root in the minds of some and when a person engages in the alleged activities of Harvey Weinstein, Anthony Weiner, and others the stigma and punishment should be swift and sever. I am fully supportive of punishing true sexual harassment or sexual abuse but pray that we do not reach the place in our Political Correctness that we make every interaction between men and women a sex crime. That same survey indicated that 25% of women believe that if a man she is not on a date with asks to buy her a drink he is sexually harassing her. If we allow that type of thinking to prevail, “how can any guy begin a relationship with a girl?” Can you see the potential damage to our social interactions? Are, single males, restricted from talking to a female UNTIL that female initiates the conversation? If that is the case, the would not the advance of the female be deemed sexual harassment toward the male?
AGAIN, I am not trying to diminish the heinousness or seriousness of real sexual harassment, but like so many things jumping on the en vogue bandwagon and pushing political correctness to the limit is dangerous. One of the problems in this current politically correct climate is an ALLEGATION is sufficient to destroy. It does not have to be proven only alleged. There will be enough people believe the allegation to destroy the life and career of the man being accused. In that climate, it is possible for something largely innocent or even those incidents where a whistle or callous comment could have been stopped with a slap to the face or a forceful verbalization of NO and a demand that it stop to be taken public and destruction results. Is that what we want? I have had women, in discussing this topic, say YES, saying, “If I don’t want them to say, look, or do it they should be destroyed.” I hope we can see the seriousness of the real and the societal damage of the PC.
Any man that tries to force a woman to engage in sexual activity she does not desire to engage in deserves to be PUNISHED. He is more than a cade or a boor, he is a predator and deserves to be exposed to the world. That stands alone! On the other side of the coin, do we want to destroy the reputations and possibly careers of men or women who make an offhanded comment or suggestion and once informed that is unacceptable stop? Ladies, I long for a world where you can receive compliments without feeling threatened or soiled. I will fight for you in every way I can if you experience real sexual harassment or abuse. I won’t insult you by saying I know how you feel, I don’t. I was taught to respect women and if I offend you with my smile or compliment I hope you can forgive me.
God bless you and God bless America!