Often really, I get a piece of email that offers a ray of hope ... for what I call The Triangle of Success ... the setting of worthwhile goals ... and the action steps necessary to achieve it.
The following EMail is but one example of the kind of communication that is possible on a subject like Sexual Harmony ... Sexual Harassment. I have left out the email address of the sender ... because I've learned in nearly three years of publishing on the INTERNET, not everybody wants to have their name or their opinion or their experiences, plastered all over the INTERNET, with their name on it. That's the way it is ... and I
daily acquire new respect for that. Do yourself and SoCô¿ôL a favor and read the following correspondence, in it's entirety ... and then give us your feedback.
Below is the result of your feedback form.
It was submitted by Susan
Thank you Susan for your courteous and considered reply to SoCô¿ôL
Comments on Sexual Harassment ...
mycomments: The issue of false sexual assault claims is an
important one, I admit.
If you are referring to the two cases I have written about from
my personal experience ... you will recognize that neither
case had anything to do with sexual assault ???
Won't you ???
Would you agree there is a significant difference beteen
the issues of Sexual Assault ... and Sexual Harassment ...
For example .. one can hope that the notion of Sexual Assault is a
notion that would describe behavior independent of the 'view' of the
assaulted ... or maybe not ... huh ??? ... he said I had her
permission ... she said he didn't ...
Still .. there is a difference between assault and harassment ?
However, you must realize that less than 1%
of the assaults reported are ever false (American Psychological Association and American Medical Association studies show).
No .. I don't realize that and neither do I believe it ... sorry ..
but if one is going to attempt to make a statement of fact ... to
another ... then one might do well to consider that fact is something
accepted in the mind of the beholder ????
That statement to me ... is not even conceiveably true ...
other hand, a rape occurs in America every 1.3 seconds. The Justice
Department estimated that in 1990 alone, 130,000 rapes were
reported. This number is even more astounding when you realize that
only 16% of rapes are ever reported.
I know that these statistics may not mean much, until you yourself face sexual assault,
You are absolutely correct .. what has real meaning is real
experiences .... what would have value is a systematic program to
improve the behavior of one person to another ... and a clear, fair,
just system for redressing violations .. or help a friend through it.
It changes your life forever, and to realize that thousands of women
are facing it everyday, only leaves you feeling sicker than when
it first occured.
A good statement of the problem ... perhaps ... The problem is that
woman are assaulted ... the solution ??? Deny civil rights ?
Define a class of behavior that is determined by the subjective view
of another? Deny due process ? Deny life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness to others who have never even been accused, nor committed
anything like the act described by the problem ???
So let's deal with these issues when they first start surfacing.
I'm a high school student who was sexually harassed by a senior
during my grade 10 year.
Here is a genuine chance to communicate .... if you would like your
audience to understand your experience .. describe it ...
specifically .. with an appeal to as many senses as possible ...
make it possible for your audience to picture the experience and what
you learned from it ... what you would recommend to them as a result
of what you've learned ...
I was told that it was just boys being
What was boys being boys ???
That summer, my close friend was raped by her boyfriend of
over five months.
Your girlfriend was raped by her boyfriend ? Just exactly what and
how did that happen ??? How do you know ??? What did your girlfriend
conclude from her experience ??? What did you conclude from
what happened to her ??? What future behaviors will you both
pursue to increase the probability that this type of behavior won't
repeat itself in your lives ... in the lives of others ???
I am now a senior myself, and was currently
approached by a girl who thought she had been given rophynol at a
party, because she had woken up completely undressed, and had not
consumed any alcohol.
A genuine concern ... and an experience now being shared by others.
And the scariest part of this is that there
are hundreds of stories like mine. Does anyone honestly believe
that it's just about boys being boys? These boys will be in
university in the fall, and than the workplace soon after. Maybe
they'll be sitting next to your daughter in class, or even
teaching her. If these men don't learn their lesson as boys, when
And the lesson ??? Don't ask for a date ??? Don't say Oooooô¿ô ... ???
We need to be aware of what is happening in our children's school
setting. Even though stories about teachers assaulting students
are what make the papers, instances which include students
assaulting students are far more common, but often they are
either not recognized, or not reported.
So what is the
difference between boys being boys and a more serious claim? The
law. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are ILLEGAL. Whether
it's a 70 year old man or a 17 year old boy. If the girl said
"no" than it means nothing else. If a person is old enough to
drive, than they are surely old enough to understand the word
'no'. So let's stop making excuses, and start dealing with the
problem at the root of it. Ask your child's school if they have
a sexual harassment policy in place... but don't be too surprised
when they say no.
I would be totally shocked and amazed if any public institution today
didn't have a sexual harassment policy in place. There are
federal signs required of every employer ... there are lawyers
present in every large public institution .. and everyone of those
lawyers is aware that someone could accuse someone else of
'offensive' behavior .. and that as an employer that institution
could be held responsible ...
I have to tell you that in my experience ... positive behavior does
not result from concentrating on negatives ... positive behavior
results as a result of painting a clear picture of the state of
affairs, as it should be ... and then helping others ... in a
positive way ... to become better at acting out the ideal ... in
their own lives .. in their own situations ...
Woman ... publicly and privately ... still have a great deal of
problems related to their sexuality .... a better approach would be
to improve their own notion of what their sexuality is .. and how to
approach it ... Men ... publicly and privately ... still have a
great deal of problems related to their sexuality ... a better
approach would be to recognize the potential problems and develop a
model strategy that each can use ... to improve their ability to deal
with these problems ...
Most school's smile and say that they don't
I absolutely do not believe this to be true ???
Then how come every university and college in the U.S. and Canada has a well defined sexual harassment policy readily
A Grade 12 Student in Canada
Whooops ... guess the rest of your message got cut off ...
Next EMail .. Including my response
Subject: Re: A grade 12 student in Canada
Send reply to: SoCooLBob@Yahoo.Com
God Bless You Susan ... what an AWESOME piece of EMail ....
I have to tell you that I'm in the middle of about 6 different things
... that's sort of the way it is nowadays ...
And as I often do, I've downloaded my email ... to see an email from Susan
Mmmmmm ... not oooo ... mmmmm ô¿ô
I recall reading and responding to your email yesterday, and filing
it in the publish email on Sexual Harassment file ... and thinking a
combination of things ...
One ... was a definite .... Oh Oh ... it's the kind of a feeling I
get whenever I think I might be violating my own 'rules' ... the
principles of the "Triangle of Success."
One of them is whenever one detects a negative attitude in what one
is about to do .. one must make that maximum attempt ( do one's best)
to first fix the attitude and then proceed.
Nobody's perfect. Not me, not you, not anyone, and so sometimes we
inevitably proceed ... even with a less than ideal attitude.
I thought to myself ... I haven't "reinforced" this young lady enough
... for her courage or the content of her writing ... That's not the
best approach ... and yet ... there's always the next time ... maybe?
And then .. here I am ... clicking and reading on this absolutely
magnficent piece of email ...
Please allow me to comment specifically .... within your content.
Subject: A grade 12 student in Canada
> You would like to know where I stand on the laws against sexual
harassment? I think that sexual harassment laws should definetely
be a part of employment law. Employees and employers should
understand the 'hostile working environment' definition of sexual
harassment. I am not saying that a man (or woman) should be fired
because of a sexual harassment claim. If the claim is proven in a
court of law... than yes... but 'innocent until proven guilty'
should still stand here.
Congratulations ... you have begun with a bold statement of your
opinion. A reassertion if you will of what you have written before.
I appreciate your showing respect for that aspect of the US &
Canadian Constitutions ???
I am sorry for what happened to you... perhaps it was a
misunderstanding (although I tend to think that you would disagree). The law failed
you here, and I now understand why you are so sore about the
Thank you for understanding .. or doing your best.
I do think it is a bad law ... a bad approach to 'positive behavior.'
I was sexually harassed by a senior 2 years ago. It started by
his pinching me at a social, and escalated to what the school describes
as stalking. He would show up at places that I was and follow me
around... he would corner me with a couple of his friends when there
was no one else in the hallway. He repeatedly asked me out...
commented on my body... pushed up against me in the hallway...etc. I
didn't realize what this was... or what to call this. I had told
him to stop, repeatedly... but he never did.
Thank you so much for sharing this personal experience. Now .. you
see I hope ... that I and your audience now have a chance to walk a
mile in your shoes. We can be there ... by your description of what
happened. Now, in my opinion, you have a much more marvelous
opportunity to communicate something that has meaning.
May I paraphrase ... "Hey folks, I ain't no expert, I'm not
absolutely sure about the ideal solution, but I do have a point of
view ... and it comes from something that happened to me ... As a
result of sharing this experience, I now know I am not alone, and
that similar things have happened to others.
You know it is now possible, as a result of your description, to walk
a mile, not only in your shoes, but in the shoes of that other ...
the young fellow involved.
You see, at the very least, I as a male, have a feeling that I can
understand at least one kind of emotion, maybe more, that could lead
to a behavior some might call ... ill advised .... anti social ...
even harassment ... Oh my God ... you mean that it's possible that
SoCô¿ôL Bob could commit SEXUAL HARASSMENT ?
Absolutely !!! Whether we know it or not .... and now ... maybe
thanks to you and me and others ... it is possible we can know that
little bit more that can lead to more positive behavior ....
Maybe we could even discover that we're describing something uniquely
.... male ..... ( statistics would indicate sexual harassment is not
a crime committed by females ô¿ô ) and the conflict associated with
something uniquely female ...
Oh my god ... pardon me ... more on this subject later ...
Finally, I told my
bestfriend, and she took me to the school counseller... He was the
first one to tell me that I was being sexually harassed. I found
out that others girls had been through what I had (although not with
the same guy)... and that I could get the school involved or handle
it myself. So, seeing as I had my confidence back, the next time he
cornered me... I told him to 'f#$@ off' and that I wasn't going to
take it anymore. He left like a dog with his tail between his legs.
And even though the harassment stopped... it haunted me for years
Once again, I must say God Bless You !!! As we walk the walk with
you ... we can see that you discovered a few positive behaviors.
I told my best friend ... woudn't we all like to have more best
She helped me share it with others.
I discovered this experience wasn't unique .. it had happened to
others ... and that there were solutions ... imperfect as they might
be ... for YOU at least to deal with YOUR PROBLEM.
I'd love to talk to you more about each of our abilities to come up
with better and better solutions ô¿ô ... but ... you discovered
enough to be impowered yourself ... and deal with in the best way you
Alright ... before I go on ... do you see the lesson here ... in your
behavior toward others. What about this POOR GUY .. ???
Suppose I create a scenario here ... for this guy .. that you can,
perhaps, understand, and so can, perhaps some others.
I'm a 16 year old guy now ... let's make it somewhat realistic ...
I'm 6 foot tall ... a skinny athelete ... and in the past couple of
years I've begun to discover .... hormones.
I've grown .... evidence of the same .... and I've discovered
something else .... When I look at YOU .... I am overcome by the most
incredibly strong emotion .... I just love everything about you ... I
love the way you look ... I love the way you smile ... I love the way
you talk to your friends ... and ... you should pardon the expression
... but I am ..... well you know .... or do you ... do you know what
it's like to "lust" after someone ???
Well, I tell you what ... I don't know much about it either ... in
fact ... to be honest ... I haven't got a CLUE .... I just know that
every time I'm anywhere near you I go nuts .... I've got to try and
do something .... and I really haven't a clue.
Let's see now ... the best solution for this scenario is to TELL THE
GUY TO %@*&)! .... I don't give a s--- about YOUR problem.
I hate being in a hallway alone... because that was when it
would happen. If a guy sat next to me on a bus, I would get all
paranoid. If one of my guy friends put his arm around my shoulders,
I'd get startled, because that was what the guy would do if I was
alone. It was really amazed at how much it had affected me. It
wasn't that I was afraid of all guys, or that I held all guys
responsible... I was just really angry at myself... because I always
said that if I was ever sexually harassed, I would stand up for
myself... and it is so different when you are actually in that
Bless you again ... because there's so much "experience" here.
Now what you have described ... is a work of human art ... the
struggle with conflict and problems ... You have also demonstrated so
vividly that we ... most of us ... all of us ... aren't busy reacting
to what just happened .... He said, she said, he said "Ooooo" ...
We're still reacting to what happened to us before ... You bet your
life saying "Ooooo" could be sexual harassment .... HE RAPED ME !!!
My boyfriend and friends helped me get through it... but it
Alot of the teachers at my school dismissed it, and said that
he probably just had a crush on me... and that it was just a boy
being a boy.
There is ... perhaps ... some truth to he's a boy ...
dismiss it ??? How bout brainstorming a positive solution ???
I wrote an anonymous article to the school newspaper
describing my experience,
It is a shame that the end result of our collective experiences ...
is the notion that we must keep them secret ....
in hopes that other girls would realize
what was happening to them.
You see ... there you are ... the growing caring human spirit ... who
desires .. .not just to help herself ... but others .... but how ???
I didn't use his name or mine, and there
was no improper language in the text. The school deemed the article
'too controversial' and would not print it.
Suffering from "collective" bad experiences ???
The student body (both
male and female) decided that this wasn't fair, and spoke on the
issue. The article was printed in the last issue of the year... but
they had changed the story partially, and had included sentences
such as 'it was probably just because he had a crush on me'.
Sounds like nobody yet brainstormed a solution for this young man ???
I think that there are definetly problems with the sexual
laws... and it mainly has to do with the definition. Both male and
females must come to an agreement as to what sexual harassment is.
Your story further illustrates why negative or criminal behavior
cannot be defined in the mind of the beholder ... you are "suffering"
still from you previous experience ... given what we know about
actual harassment, and child molestation, and the pretty widespread
mistreatment of others ... he said, she said, he said, "Oooo" makes
me ... SoCô¿ôL and warm and loving Bob ( Ooooo) , responsible for what
her father did to her ... as a child in Minnesota ????
Otherwise... I don't really see how you can prove it (or disprove
it) in a court of law.
I will tell you my opinion. I believe in God. I believe more
profoundly in the New Testament than I believe in the Old.
I believe that Jesus came because .... The Law didn't work ...
Alright, said the Lord, in SoCô¿ôL Bob's version of The Gospel ...
that didn't work ... so what do we do ... we try something else.
This time ... rather than tell you what to do and what not to do
... I'm going to show you ... Love God Above All Things .... The
Force .... Love yourself as you love others ....
Oh boy ... that's a mouthful ... cause it's really two things at
once ... that last one ..
It says that in any situation I gotta care about ME ... i got to
do my best to treat myself right ... I got to learn to overcome and
not to be overcome by problems ... especially when so many of them
are repeatable .... learnable ... teachable ... all from the
experience of others. And I gotta care about the other person just
like I care about myself ... in exactly the same way ... I got to
walk a mile in his shoes ... wait a minute ... what is this guy doing
stalking me .... where's the positive in that ... ??? what's he
going through ... what's he trying to achieve ??? How can I help him
... consistant with my goals ???
Every time I have ever made an enemy .... since about the time I
was 26 .... I have always been the most disappointed because I felt I
missed the opportunity, to make another very best friend.
Thanks again so much ... Susan ... ô¿ô )
I hope that you will continue on your path from learning from
your experience. I hope that perhaps you and your friends ..
including those here at SoCô¿ôL ... will continue to work toward more
ideal solutions. You know, it is as important for you to overcome
that memory of things gone wrong in the past ... you need you and we
need you .. to develop more solutions in the future.
I hope perhaps that you, and or your friends, and or your
counselors might discover that, perhaps, inviting the young boy into
a discussion with the counselor .... could improve the situation
Hey SoCô¿ôL Bob ...
I had a conversation with Susan the other day ... and she's
indicated a concern that I thought I should share with you.
She says you been staring at her ... following her ... etc. etc.
Tell me ... what's going on for you ... it's SoCô¿ôL ... I just
want to know so I can, perhaps, make some suggestions to help you ...
Don't worry man ... you're not ... "IN TROUBLE !!!" .... Hey
listen .. we're all on both your sides ... let's talk about it ...
Hey Susan ...
How we doin so far ???
Can we proceed without making things worse ???
Can we do it for less than $350.00 an hour ???
Thanks also Susan ... for all your friends ... who jumped in to help
... anybody know what's happened ... to "SoCô¿ôL Bob?"