March 28, 1998
SoCô¿ôL has been publishing SoCô¿ôL Comments on Sexual Harassment, and your responses, for approximately two years. I suspect it would be unusual for anyone to read them all, sort of like names on The Wall ? In any case, the number of visitors continues to grow, and I continue to wonder exactly why ? Are there that many people 'just interested" in the subject matter, are there that many people "experiencing" an incident in their own lives that cause them to be interested, or are there just that many assignments being given out in school? You can assist SoCô¿ôL in it's quest ... let's face it ... to discover a DIFFERENT WAY to do things. This whole subject matter, being battled out in courts, is only the tip of the iceberg. It seems to us we're teaching people they can't get along with one another ... and being the potential victim of a court action only makes matters worse. We can do better than this .. let's do it.
We continue to encourage SoCô¿ôL Visitors to respond to the experiences and comments seen here, to report experiences of their own, and, most important of all, their recommendations and willingness to participate in the solution.
You're EMailFrom: email@example.com (bmj)
Subject: Sexual hassessment
I know that some have experienced sexual Harressment or they say they have but I wonder about it. I found early on in school that there were some girls that boys told dirty jokes to and there were some that they didn't. Mainly because they knew that they would not get a laugh or would be looked down on for such behavior. Boys and men don't like rejection any more than any one else. I often heard from other women how they were always being propositionsed by co-woker, husbands of friends etc. It never happened to me. I certainly was not ugly in fact I was considered beautiful in my younger days. I asked my husband once Why this was and his answer was again that men didn't like rejection and I carried a visable banner that said HAPPY and CONTENT with my situation and NOT LOOKING. Therefore they left me alone. Forceable rape by a stanger is something else that can not be controlled but I think that many date rapes are open to question. One that has been arround the block several times
Thanks Barbara ..
For your response to SoCô¿ôL and SoCô¿ôL Comments on Sexual Harassment ...
You know it's really wild when you stop to consider how many different people, different kinds of people, different geographies and traditions, different situations, that might be confronted by the 300 million human beings that are affected by this "Edict." There are certainly a great many different scenarios ... including ... I believe ... a great many just exactly as you've described.
It is indeed chilling to think, that there is a female, who has now become empowered ... to smile and say "Take Me You Fool ... to one man," and turn around and say " You harasser to another," and get away with it.
It was submitted by jake (firstname.lastname@example.org)
body: We had a movie festival at school and I only have 6 people in my class. I am in the seventh grade. when the teach went out of the room my friends and I started wrestling. one of my friends pushed me over a couch and I fell backward on to a girl in my class and now one of the girls in my class wrote about it in her journal and the teaher found out and now the teacher is accusing me of sexual harrasment. what do you thuink email me at email@example.com
mycomments: Dear Bob,
I'd like to respond to your situation. While you are reading these comments, I will be a bit harsh; however, keep reading because I do sympathize with you. I don't sympathize with the car dealer:
Listen, just because she wasn't a good car salesperson is not a reason to dislike her and treat her as a subhuman. Her behavior is that of the historical traditional homemaker. Should we all dislike our past mothers and grandmothers? She is NOT dislikeable. She is simply not a salesperson. As a matter of fact, I question the car dealer's hiring abilities. Please keep these issues separate. Treating people as a subhuman triggers them to retaliate, usually in the form of revenge (such as she did). She was not good at sales; this does not mean that she was not intellegent. All of you assumed that she was not intellegent, that she could not see thru the games, torture, etc. I'm not supporting her severe retaliation, I'm pointing out that if you were more respectful of her feelings when hanging out with your co- workers and not just when you were alone with her. As a matter of fact, you appear to have double standards when doing that. Because of this dual behavior on your part, you probably hurt her the most because she expected more from you because you were suppose to be her friend.
Don't give me your bitter grief that you were not cool. Naive Bob WAS cool. Unfortunately, your other coworkers did not share your attitude. You did not hire her, a positive attitude is the only way you could deal with her. A negative attitude could have gotten you in trouble with your superiors (or your clergy if you have a conscious). Your bitterness is understandable, but don't ruin your resilience and positive attitude on life because of it.
You have missed something. The expense of this court case is not any more than any other court case and should not be an issue. As a matter of fact, the numbers you are rehearsing are rather low. The employer they should only be held responsible if the woman gave them the opportunity to be responsible. In other words, if she never brought this matter directly to the attention of the harrasers and/or her supervisor. She should not have a case. Why? Because some women would not be bothered by such things and would not consider it sexual harassment. No man or no women should be forced to read minds. When sexual harassment first became an American issue, it was emphasized that the women/man must make it perfectly clear that the hurt party MUST bring it to the attention of the supervisor or directly to the harassor. This is reasonable, but it is beyond me that employers fire people even though you're not expected to read minds. You should only get a warning in writing.
Let this be a lesson to you. She was sexually harassed. Being sexually harassed and being capable to do the job are two different issues. Don't justify your and other's behavior just because she was not a good salesperson. I repeat, treating her like a subhuman just because God did not give her talent in the sales department is wrong. It seems that she did do the right thing on bringing the issue to her superiors. However, I agree that all of you were dealt with unfairly. She accepted this behavior for quite a while before doing anything. This gives the impression that this behavior was acceptable to her. When she finally professed her discomfort, management should have simply issued a warning to everyone. If the harassment stopped and she still proceeded to sue the organization, I believe she handled the situation unfairly. If the organization fired her because of her lack of ability at the precise time that the sexual harassment issue became evident, that was poor judgement on the part of management. They should have given her time to prove herself now that the pressure of harassment was off. Being a woman, I must sympathize with her. When a person is harassed, it is impossible to relax, to concentrate and to do well in your job.
Government and organizations have dealt with this matter in a clumsy, immature manner. Your organization promoted the allowance of subhuman treatment. Once the woman made it perfectly clear that it was sexual harassment, the organization panicked; overreacted and fired everyone (rediculous). If subhuman behavior was never encouraged, none of you would have had this problem. The problem was not with you or your coworkers. It was with your car dealer's management techniques. The girl couldn't sell her way out of a paper bag. Your car dealer couldn't manage their way out of a paper bag.
In my opinion, I don't believe that sexual harassement should be the issue nor should it EVER be an issue. I believe that harassment in general should be the issue and should be outlawed. If this were so, none of you would have to worry about foggy lines of behavior. How on earth can we not step over lines when these "so called lines" keep moving. If subhuman behavior in general was outlawed. All of you would know up front that subhuman behavior is not permissable regarless of its content. Perhaps that is why everyone feels that sexual harassment issues have gone too far -- because they have. Too often people scream sexual harassment only to get revenge on others. The lines of where to cross are too individualistic. Harassment should be outlawed altogether.
EVERYONE LOST IN YOUR SITUATION -- EVEN THE GIRL. Let's not scream sex. Let's scream fair treatment. This would solve all unfair issues, including racism.
To: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Subject: Male support
Is there anywhere for the men who have been screwed over to go to lick our wounds? Male support group?
It was submitted by John Kukuda (firstname.lastname@example.org)
mycomments: I'm tired of everyone blaming their failures on somebody else. Sexual harrassment has gotten to the point where you must leave your balls(sex) in the parking lot before entering the building. Most women cannot accept humor in the workplace. I think america has reached a sad turning point. Behavior such as related in your experience will cause a revolt somewhere along the line.
It was submitted by Darcy (email@example.com)
body: When I was 18 years old, now I'm 28, I worked in a small office with three men. One of which, we will call Shawn, was a college student and very fresh. Strangely fresh. I admit, I was 18 I did look good then, and was flattered by the beginnings of the attention I got working with 3 guys. However, it changed. Shawn, began to make crude comments, bad dirty jokes, etc. I really don't remember specifics, 10 years ago you know. Also, the office was small. We had two computers set up side by side at one table. This is where Shawn and I worked. He wrote stories and I did display and classified ads. Several times he would put his hand over onto my leg and try to touch my privates. I even told my boss about it, a man of 29 at the time. He just laughed and said, "oh, leave her alone, Shawn--you're getting her upset, and we don't want that now do we?" Obviously, my boss was not taking any of this seriously. It got so bad that I told Shawn he had better stop or.... he said "or what? Will you tell your big red neck boyfriend and he'll come run me over with his four wheel drive?" I was do upset. Afraid to tell my boyfriend (because of what he would do), I didn't tell anyone. This went on until Shawn left the job for another.
At the time I was upset and didn't know what to do. But now when I look back on it I'm outraged. What if that was a daughter of mine and some slimy punk know-it-all had his hands all over her, degrading her, no one offering to help her. At one point it was so bad, about Shawn patting me on my ass that my boss did finally tell him to go ahead and leave to do a story.
What was I supposed to do? And how should I feel about the experience now? Should I go back and do something about it or let sleeping dogs lie? I remember Shawn's real name, and where he was originally from. I've wondered about this for 10 years now... any advice?
It was submitted by Jeanine Kim (JnineKim@aol.com)
mycomments: I have been involved in a sexual harassment / discrimination case for over 8 years. By going to the Human Rights Commission twice in this time frame to try and mediate changes in the work structure, I was singled out and retaliated against to such a degree I finally had to sever my employment. It has now been almost two years since I quit and still I don't have a court date.
You're right in voicing the inadequacies in the judicial system in regards to the victims in such cases. With no job, trying to go against a large corporation is difficult at best, but through self education, and knowing that what happened to me should never happen to anyone ever again I must keep faith in our judicial system. The courts need to address the toll that this horrendous injustice does to the victim. I have gone through emotional distress not unlike that of a rape victim.
The whole matter doesn"t involve sex as most think, it involves control. Often I've found that others do not understand this aspect of a case. Of course the company should have the right to rectify a situation, but that answer should not be to remove the victim and promote the harasser! The CEO of the corporation I was employed by personally donated to the Bob Packwood defense fund because he believed that everyone should be able to afford a fair defense! Tells you what we're up against, they don't even have a clue about what Equal oppourtunity is all about and believe me there are many employers that are bound by federal guidelines (EEOC) that take our money to run their businesses and turn around and find every way they can to eliminate the problems by removing the victims through intimidation and harassment so that they have no problem with sexual harassment. It never goes on their books nor do they even admit that it happens. Thus they have no problem getting funds from the USDA, or any other federal sources that we the taxpayers fund.
I truly believe that our country was founded on sound principals, if these were in practice today no one should not be heard just for the inability to afford representation. Corporations have legal staffs funded again by the taxpayers in most cases, I should also have that luxury because I have never seen in writing that if you have enough money you can violate a US citizens constitutional rights just because they speak out and they become a liability to the company.
It was submitted by Daniel G. Shelton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
mycomments: It just so happens that I am experiencing a similar situation with the infamous Federal Government.
Let me start by saying that I have never been reprimanded, not even verberly since I started with the government. I position requires me to visit companies that are regulated by our agency and to take enforcement action (fines & penalties), when necessary to encourage compliance with the rules. In one particular case, I was at a company for 5 days. Went to lunch with the president and others in his employ at least two different times and was invited to a Friday brunch of soup and cornbread.
When I left they knew they were in trouble because the report I left them said so. There were no hidden agendas on my part.
Fourteen months later I get charge with sexual harrassment by two the women who work there saying that I discussed by sexual activities with them and told them sexually explicit jokes, but they can't remember what the jokes were just that they were sexually explicit. On top of that, one of the women who complained, her husband also works there and I visited with him at least once each day. Not only did I not sexually harras anyone, he didn't know about it either.
It is very clear the reason for these false and baseless accusations is because they had to pay a fine, the person who made the complaint was the one responsible so it made her look bad. And to wait 14 months and then only complain after the same agency that I work went to the company and solicited information and then had the gaul to say these comments were truthful, credible, unbiased and without malice. How crazy can you be.
My case is now on appeal to the MSPB (Merit Systems Protection Board). Regardless of the outcome, someone needs to pay for all the mental anguish and pain and suffering that I have had to endure for over a year. Would love (not sexual) to hear from anyone who has endured something like this or has ideas for me.
Here are the famous last words "I AM WITH THE GOVERNMENT AND I AM HERE TO HELP YOU"
It was submitted by Christina Houston (email@example.com)
body: I am working on a sexual harrassment presentation. I rememberhearing on the news about a month ago that a lady sued her boss over talking about a scene on the Jerry Seinfeld show. He evidently opened the dictionary and pointed to the word penis. She sued him, but he was cleared of the charges. I can't seem to get the right buzzwords on the internet to pull up an article about this incident. Any help out there?
It was submitted by N. E. Parker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
mycomments: This sounds like one more day in the labyrinths of justice in the U.S. of America. Great counttry. Wouldn't change it for any other (and I ought to know since I am a Cuban refugee), but we do have to do something about our money wasting, time consuming, sueing frenzy we have in this country. As long as money amoounts are so exagerated, and as long as the judicial system continues to allow these misuse of court time, these cases will continue to litter the system. Good Luck. NEP
It was submitted by Daniel Charles Assink (email@example.com)
mycomments: I often reflect, ineffectively mind you, on how this could happen to me.
Good for you .. everyone should learn to walk a mile, in the other persons shoes. Treat these things as though they were happening to YOU !!! An injustice to one, IS an injustice to ALL.
Simply put, if my intentions are honorable, my manners "reasonable to an average Amercan guy" how can I become vulnerable? The answer: by treating her differently then I would a man.
The answer is having someone say you did.
Of course this is the letter of the Sexual Harassment Law; I can say to a man, "Wow, I think men have different reasons for making love, what do you think?" He may pause for reflection while I follow with another, "What do you think?'
Now, a female may wish to read something different into this, perhaps that I am wondering why I would want to make love to her, or maybe something differently. Maybe she thinks I want to discuss sexuality with her --Sexual Harassment?
So now I think I have it, I must discriminate because of gender when it comes to 'average American male talk' but not when we compete for stressful, powerful positions of authority; well maybe that is not possible either. Aggressive behavior in a women is ok, but aggressive behavior in men ?
Well, I still like having women in our gym classes at school, but it was hard to adapt, until a women tried to beat me in a foot race my senior year; I can't let my guard down, or I may be totally humiliated to my public, of course I think this is slander or if written liable (defamation) a lot harder to prove then Sexual Harassment. I love the idea of a chech, but add, it should probably be signed by a women.
I wonder if a man reports sexual harassment by a man, if he will be considered gay?
Thanks Daniel ...
Subject: Sexual Harassment
Women have always thought that men ought to be able to read their minds ...
Now they've made it the law.
From: Richard Erickson
Subject: sexual harassment
I am visiting this site because I have to do an assignment on sexual harassment for school. If it weren't for that, I would be no where near any sexual harassment sites. Girls that accuse guys of sexual harassment suck. In my opinion, it's their fault they are getting sexually harassed. But anyway, I don't aprecciate "I am woman hear me roar" people. They bug. Tell them to shut up. If I get sexually harassed by some guy, then who gives a f*@#, if I don't like it, then I tell him off. Anyway, any people visiting a sexual harassment site for leisure, ugh. Good Job though.
It was submitted by Nadine (firstname.lastname@example.org)
mycomments: THE WAY WE DEAL WITH EACH OTHER is ridiculous. This, if accurate, is a gross miscarriage of a modern concept of "justice", revolving solely around money.
I will agree that this instance is a shame to anyone with a sense of fairness, however, I must allow for the thousands of women who are actually sexually harassed every day, that either do not report it, or are ignored when they do. Sexual harassment is a reality, and it does ruin the lives of some women, and it is miscarriages of justice like this one that steal credibility from them.
Thanks Nadine ...
For your response to SoCoOL and SEXUAL HARASSMENT.
I agree ... that the way we treat each other is often RIDICULOUS. I am forced to agree with the biblical prescription of Jesus, when he hung on the cross .... He felt their pain .... Lord ... why has though forsaken me .... he also understood the cause .... Lord forgive them, for they know not what they do ....
To respond to some people with love, compassion, honest caring about the objectives they are trying to achieve, is often to be thought of as a fool, or a liar. We perform the way we do out of habit, and out of an INTENSE DESIRE to achieve what we want.
This gal got the check .... a big one .... The lawyers involved got checks, BIG ONES. Whether we like it or not this system helped her to achieve her goals, and they theirs .... and disregarded the goals and rights of others ...
It is not unusual.
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Is This Sexual Harassment?
What The Hell Good Would It Do?
And It Continues