POINT OF VIEW: A long time coming


There is a long history bringing us to this moment where society is finally listening to women speaking out about sexual assaults from men in the workplace. Whether this movement can accomplish change hangs in the balance. Those who think women should just get over it seemingly want to give men a free pass. Admittedly, there are degrees of harassment, and this new movement will succeed only if we are collecting evidence and analyzing degrees of egregiousness.

After finishing my undergraduate work in anthropology, the dean of my department gave me a night class to teach. I felt he was demonstrating extraordinary confidence in my abilities. Instead he just wanted an excuse to see me during evening hours and invite me to a hotel room. My dilemma was that if I declined, he would probably not hire me again, nor provide stellar recommendations, or mentor me when hurdles arose. He should have been the one who could advise me on what to do in this situation. Was my career going to end before it began?

Too many young women, initially aspiring to build careers, have deserted workplaces when a male, assigned to mentor, instead moved to conquer. We need to make sure that women report any improper behaviors directed at them. Exit interviews should include asking departing employees if they experienced sexual harassment. I regret not reporting two different occurrences. Looking back, I believe in both instances, the perpetrators were repeat offenders. Our silence serves only to abet those who will harm others. Too often, we move on with our lives. Now, this movement compels us to speak, and to encourage others to speak.

Most men and women from time immemorial partnered their attributes and bonded with respect for each other. Some men, however, never develop empathy or respect for women. Some men continue to see women as conquests.

We need to thank those good men who won’t be patting our butts, the men who are supportive colleagues in the workplace, the men a married woman can have lunch with and know there won’t be come-ons, and male department heads who understand discrimination and will listen when we report the guy who keeps leaving suggestive notes on our desk. We can’t do this alone, but we can transform the world if we, men and women, work together toward the goal of ridding the workplace of sexual harassment.

KAREN COODY COOPER, LAKE WORTH



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Editorial cartoon
Editorial cartoon

CARTOON VIEW SCOTT STANTIS
POINT OF VIEW: What would gender equality look like?

Women now have male friends who are unsure what is appropriate in today’s social climate. Now that #MeToo led women to publicly speak out about hurtful actions they have endured from men, some men are re-examining jokes they’ve told, hugs they’ve given and flirtations that went awry. First of all, this women’s movement is, or...
Letters County has more to offer tourists than water

County has more to offer than water The article “County weighs price of conserving nature” (Jan. 8) revealed the lack of community leaders who recognize the value and importance of Palm Beach County’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands (ESLs). However, the questions asked by representatives of the Tourist Development Council are very...
Friedman: Pausing the ‘Trump Reality Show’ for a technological advance

Donald Trump poses a huge dilemma for commentators: to ignore his daily outrages is to normalize his behavior, but to constantly write about them is to stop learning. Like others, I struggle to get this balance right, which is why I pause today to point out some incredible technological changes that will pose as big an adaptation challenge to American...
Parker: Can there be a charitable reading of Trump’s vulgarity?

While recently perusing unread books gathering dust on my shelves, one tome caught my eye and, upon being loosed from the grip of neglect, fell open to a random page from which leapt the following sentence: “The ancestors of a critical and growing mass of present-day Americans existed in dung heaps of humanity amidst rotting vegetables.&rdquo...
More Stories