[Discussion] Feminism and social justice, plus FAQ!

This thread is for discussing feminist issues--from the narrow meaning (a movement for social justice in terms of gender equality) to the broader meaning (a movement for social justice, period), and from the scope of issues in gaming and geek culture to kyriarchy in general.

Basic questions are allowed here for now, we will split out a Q&A thread should it become necessary.

RnRClown wrote:

The sexual activity stopped when she decided. She left the apartment when she wanted to.

That's where you're wrong and where you're utterly missing the point. She said she wanted to slow down several times, and he would have a little pause before picking up again. Clearly, she was uncomfortable and looking for an out, but didn't know how. If you haven't read the Babe article, I'll quote an appropriate chunk, although it churns my stomach.

Then he was undressing her, then he undressed himself. She remembers feeling uncomfortable at how quickly things escalated.

When Ansari told her he was going to grab a condom within minutes of their first kiss, Grace voiced her hesitation explicitly. “I said something like, ‘Whoa, let’s relax for a sec, let’s chill.’” She says he then resumed kissing her, briefly performed oral sex on her, and asked her to do the same thing to him. She did, but not for long. “It was really quick. Everything was pretty much touched and done within ten minutes of hooking up, except for actual sex.”
She says Ansari began making a move on her that he repeated during their encounter. “The move he kept doing was taking his two fingers in a V-shape and putting them in my mouth, in my throat to wet his fingers, because the moment he’d stick his fingers in my throat he’d go straight for my vagina and try to finger me.” Grace called the move “the claw.”
Ansari also physically pulled her hand towards his penis multiple times throughout the night, from the time he first kissed her on the countertop onward. “He probably moved my hand to his dick five to seven times,” she said. “He really kept doing it after I moved it away.”

Emphasis mine. Now do you get it? How the frak do you go from "let's chill" to oral sex? It's mindboggling.

I think the difficulty here is understanding why it's so hard to say no.

Delbin wrote:

I think the difficulty here is understanding why it's so hard to say hear no.

This is the part I don't get.

I think there are definite lessons to be learned here. I don't think Aziz Ansari is anywhere near a monster or even a predator. He was pushy for sure. The reasons I'm sympathetic to him are some that have already been stated. I'm also sympathetic to Grace for reasons also already stated. This wasn't an assault, it was a bad date and he was gropey and gross. Lots of lessons to learn here if people want to have good dates, good hook-ups or whatever. What he wanted was very clear. It seems she also wanted something, but what that was was not clear, other than to slow down. Seems to me he slowed down, and then stopped when it became clear. I agree with those that say that they both could have handled this better.

Delbin wrote:

I think the difficulty here is understanding why it's so hard to say no.

It actually is hard for women to say no, for lots of reasons. We're conditioned to want to be loved, and to want to please people. We really shouldn't be in a position to have to say no. We need to learn to not get into that position, and men need to learn to stop putting us in that position. We also need to stop encouraging our young daughters and sons to hug and kiss everyone all the time. I could go on and on.

Delbin wrote:

I think the difficulty here is understanding why it's so hard to say no.

There are so many instances of women being killed for saying no, that I'm just going to link the Google search.

In other words, Atras is totally correct. Why does hearing "no" send men into a murderous rage?

The top article does a nice little sum-up of recent cases, and even brings up Margaret Atwood (yes, the "Handmaid's Tale" author who is currently under attack for her op-ed piece criticizing the "Me Too" movement):

Margaret Atwood wrote:

Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.

Well, that makes things horrifyingly clear. Thank you.

Unsurprisingly, there has been a whole lot of conversation, some in support, some in rather pointed opposition of Babe.com's Aziz Ansari article.

Ex-Jezebel writer Erin Glora Ryan provided her take on the whole thing for The Daily Beast today.

As of Saturday night, the public has thought way more about Aziz Ansari’s sex life than most of us ever cared to. Has the #MeToo movement finally overreached? Is Aziz Ansari, a self-anointed millennial relationship expert, just bad at sex? Or are we seeing an inevitable clash between the ideals of rah-rah sex positivity feminism and the realities of a world shaped less by lady magazine cover lines and more by outdated gender norms, by sex education dictated by pornography?

Babe.com’s three thousand words on a terminated date between a 23-year-old photographer and the Master of None star felt excessive, and at times lurid, as though the publication behind the piece had conflated journalistic seriousness and length. We now know how Ansari kisses, how he moves his hands, his speech patterns when he wants to have sex, what kind of wine he prefers. At The Atlantic, Caitlin Flanagan, guns blazing, condemned the piece as “revenge porn” published with the intent of humiliating its subject. People have a right to privacy, she argued, and the anonymously-sourced piece violated that.

Many critics of the piece’s publication point out that aspects of the Ansari story differ from others in the unfortunate pantheon of industry gods felled by harassment claims. In the New York Times, Bari Weiss concluded that Ansari was guilty of not being a mind reader. It’s “the worst thing to happen to the #MeToo movement” since it started last year, Weiss argues. (Besides all of the sexual abuse, I’d venture.)

Weiss is correct that the woman’s anonymous story doesn’t include a verbal “no” that was ignored; in fact, the woman kept returning to the sexual encounter even after she was pretty sure she wasn’t happy with how it was going and when she finally did say “no,” Ansari complied, they put on their clothes, and watched Seinfeld.

Unlike other cases roped into the sexual harassment reckoning, Ansari hadn’t pushed the woman to perform sex acts in exchange for professional advancement, or threatened her career if she didn’t comply with his requests. And unlike, say, Brett Ratner, Ansari didn’t deny any parts of the story, and apologized both at the time and now.

Publicly, professional and amateur opinion-havers seem to have decided that we’ve finally reached the breaking point of #MeToo that columnists have been warning about for months. Privately, friends and acquaintances who work in the comedy and entertainment spaces have confessed to me that they’re leery of the Ansari story’s role in the #MeToo conversation. I tweeted about my hesitance to see this as a clear-cut case of abuse, and a long, widely-varying set of opinions ensued, some thoughtful and in agreement, many thoughtful and in disagreement.

Lost in the conversation about newsworthiness and privacy, even beyond the conclusion that Ansari behaved hypocritically, is an uncomfortable truth about young people, sexuality, and consent. Weiss danced with it when she asserted at the end of her piece that women needed to be braver, and that men need to stop pursuing sex like they’re porn stars. But Weiss doesn’t get at the why. And until we understand the why, young women like “Grace” and young-ish men like Ansari will have grey-area-to-outright coercive sexual encounters that leave nobody satisfied.

I don't know that it's all that grey.

What does "Let's chill," mean? This goes beyond Ansari. To me, that means "I get what you want, now stop pushing and I will take initiative on where this goes." It doesn't mean "I consent to oral sex."

Is this all that unusual?

When we're hacking at a tree and someone says, "Hey guys, let's chill for a minute!" I expect everyone to put down their axes and reflect on what we've been doing for a bit. If someone keeps going at the tree, I expect everyone else to look at him like he's a weirdo and subsequently rebuke him.

sometimesdee wrote:

In other words, Atras is totally correct. Why does hearing "no" send men into a murderous rage?

But it doesn't.

First let's get this out of the way: I'm not saying domestic violence isn't a huge problem. It is. I'm also not saying that our culture does a fine job of educating men about consent. It doesn't. In fact it does the opposite.

Based on that article you linked, though, the most pessimistic number of murders per year was "over a thousand," and the cited studies were considerably less than that. Even if that figure is off by a factor of ten, let's say there are 10,000 sex-denial-rage-murders per year. There are 128 million adult women in the US. Based on these admittedly fuzzy numbers, an adult woman has a 0.0078125% chance of getting murdered for saying no. One in nearly thirteen thousand.

Women should not fear saying no. Based on this National Safety Council chart, the chance of dying from that is somewhere between the chance of dying in an air or space transport incident and the chance of dying from being electrocuted or irradiated.

There is no national movement to educate people on the risks of air and space transport.

Just like men are culturally conditioned to be domineering, women are culturally conditioned to be accomodating and worry about the outcome of being assertive.

If you ask me, a woman should not only be unafraid to say no, she should say no and cockpunch any handsy jackass who doesn't get the message. Maybe she'll get arrested for battery, but maybe the night in jail would be worth it if that dude reconsiders his dating tactics with future women.

Meanwhile, we should also use more conventional approaches to educate men about consent from an early age.

BadKen wrote:

Just like men are culturally conditioned to be domineering, women are culturally conditioned to be accomodating and worry about the outcome of being assertive.

I agreed with almost everything you said, but I don't know if this is fully true. I agree that many cultures say men should be domineering, but I think the culture is just mimicking genetics. If you were to do a social experiment and put 100 kids on an island with no moral guidelines, I would bet they would grow up creating the same culture.

redacted

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Wow, I'm legit horrified at the turn this thread has taken.

Horrified doesn't even begin to cut it. Appalled, dismayed, concerned, distressed, physically ill, in tears.

Once again, the feminism thread is being taken over by men. Guys, you may think it's in good taste to debate these feminist themes in this way, but it is most decidedly not. You have no skin in this game, sexual assault and domestic violence are abstracts, things you can debate on whether or not there are comparatively "so few deaths". Like most women, I have have endured sexual harassment. And like many women, I'm a survivor of domestic abuse. You can talk of deaths, but that's the tip of the iceberg. What the women who were assaulted? What of those still caught in their abuser's web, those who can't get out? What of the emotional abuse, the kind of abuse that can go on for years but never result in any visible scars?
I'll take the numbers I know, the numbers in France. A woman dies at the hands of her husband/boyfriend ex-husband/boyfriend every three days. Doesn't matter that there are roughly thirty million women in France, it's still too many deaths.

It's not normal to live in fear of the person you share your bed, your life with. When you're in that kind of situation, there's no freakin' possible way you can "cockpunch any handsy jackass who doesn't get the message." We're not talking about some random dude on the subway, these men are usually a lot closer than that because they've wormed their way in your heart and home before you managed to truly discern who they are.

I hate to offer up anecdotal data, because that's not scientific at all, but I'm still trying to rid myself of the pernicious, horribly destructive influence my TFEH (toxic future ex husband, since we're still technically separated). At first, it was all rosy, and little by little, very insidiously, it got worse and worse. Men like him will chip at your self esteem, you'll think nothing you ever do is good enough. Work too hard, and you're a bad, absent mother. Work less to manage doctor appointments, school stuff for the kids, and you aren't contributing to the home. Damned if you do, damned. And then it gets, violent, he starts breaking stuff, and pulling you out of your bed at 6am, while your sleeping 5 year old lies behind you. He'll slam you up against a wall, and tell the cops "she was getting upset and needed to be calmed down." Simply because you had a different opinion. You'll spend months and months wrangling the legal system to get him out of your home only to have to flee it while you wait for it to take its course. Just last night, he sent three emails in the space of 40 minutes, threatening me, threatening to have the government cut off aid for our special needs kids. That's how f*cked up it is. And guess what? The courts do nothing. And I can't even talk about it int the divorce thread because it's an overwhelmingly boys club in which I barely feel included. Worst part? I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

So sure, do go ahead and put the onus on women again. It's up to women to stand up for ourselves, it's up to us to tell men to take a hike. Never mind that we may fear for our life, for sanity, for our children.

Congratulations, boys, for twisting this thread, and making it horribly unwelcoming and triggering. Thanks a lot.

I'll just finish off with a Mary Sue article from yesterday which perfectly encapsulates it all.
Matt Damon Finally Shares the #MeToo Opinion We Want to Hear From Him: “I Should Get in the Back Seat and Close My Mouth” @ Mary Sue

https://twitter.com/jennygadget/stat...

Today feels like a good time to remind everyone that they have done studies on gender, miscommunication, and “soft nos”

And the overwhelming conclusion

is that men claim ignorance when they are talking to women and the topic is sex/dating

but demonstrate competence otherwise.

And that this includes both

understanding that language that doesn’t include “no” can still mean no

and being able to interpret body language correctly.

"Was he supposed to read her mind?" is some bullsh*t. Don't pretend like men don't know what a no looks like even if it's not explicitly expressed. "Not enforceable in a court of law" should not be within a hundred miles of your definition of consent.

My dudes. Listen here, talk here.

I've started a Men talking to men about Feminism thread to keep this a space for women's voices while allowing us to have the necessary conversations on this topic.

Australia has a third of the population of France and we lose a person a week to domestic violence. Saying no is deadly.

Some things before I retire from this thread.

1) I apologize to Eleima that my frank contribution was upsetting. The discussion was about what happens on dates, and I was offering a call to action. I did not mean to blame any victim, nor did I mean to imply that the solution to the problem is the responsibility of the victims. However, the long term solution of educating men about consent does not help the woman who finds herself on a nightmare date.

2) Abusers in long-term relationships are a whole different can of worms from sexual predators who are serial assaulters. It is heartbreaking to read about Eleima's experience. 20 years ago I went through something similar in my marriage to my wife, who was mentally ill, very dependent on me, and went through periods of extreme instability. We ended up separating, she died from cancer, and I have never really recovered from not being the person she needed. She was too small to throw me around, but she wasn't too small to throw sharp objects or punches. There was both mental and physical abuse, and frankly I'm still suffering because of it.

My point is that kind of suffering is not theoretical or abstract to me. I have not had to endure nearly the same kind of problems in the workplace or out in the world that women go through, but I do know first-hand what can happen in a home.

3) This isn't a safe space thread. I consider myself thoroughly feminist. I fight casual sexism every day among my family and friends. However, it seems that I am incapable of commenting on some subjects without my comments being interpreted in the worst possible way because I express myself poorly. I am incapable of putting my thoughts across on sensitive subjects without coming across in the exact opposite of the way I want to. This isn't the first time it has happened on this site, or with people who frequent this site. So from now on I'm just going to avoid discussions like this altogether, despite the opportunities for learning and growing. I'll just stick to games.

BadKen wrote:

So from now on I'm just going to avoid discussions like this altogether, despite the opportunities for learning and growing. I'll just stick to games.

Or you could try listening, rather than breaking out the statistics to minimise people's experiences.

BadKen wrote:

Some things before I retire from this thread.
1) I apologize to Eleima that my frank contribution was upsetting. The discussion was about what happens on dates, and I was offering a call to action. I did not mean to blame any victim, nor did I mean to imply that the solution to the problem is the responsibility of the victims. However, the long term solution of educating men about consent does not help the woman who finds herself on a nightmare date.
2) Abusers in long-term relationships are a whole different can of worms from sexual predators who are serial assaulters. It is heartbreaking to read about Eleima's experience. 20 years ago I went through something similar in my marriage to my wife, who was mentally ill, very dependent on me, and went through periods of extreme instability. We ended up separating, she died from cancer, and I have never really recovered from not being the person she needed. She was too small to throw me around, but she wasn't too small to throw sharp objects or punches. There was both mental and physical abuse, and frankly I'm still suffering because of it.
My point is that kind of suffering is not theoretical or abstract to me. I have not had to endure nearly the same kind of problems in the workplace or out in the world that women go through, but I do know first-hand what can happen in a home.
3) This isn't a safe space thread. I consider myself thoroughly feminist. I fight casual sexism every day among my family and friends. However, it seems that I am incapable of commenting on some subjects without my comments being interpreted in the worst possible way because I express myself poorly. I am incapable of putting my thoughts across on sensitive subjects without coming across in the exact opposite of the way I want to. This isn't the first time it has happened on this site, or with people who frequent this site. So from now on I'm just going to avoid discussions like this altogether, despite the opportunities for learning and growing. I'll just stick to games.

First and foremost, I'm sorry you went through that, BadKen, no one should ever have to. I understand that this kind of suffering isn't theoretical for you, but what you haven't grasped is that, for the vast majority of women it isn't "a whole different can of worms". It starts with what most men dismiss as small things: the boss calling you "girl", the casual catcalling, the blatant ogling of young teenage girls, then it's insults when you don't respond to the catcalling - or when you do tell guys to get lost - or you get beat up. And you're told you shouldn't wear this or do that, because girls shouldn't be a computer engineer, or that this skirt is too short, and that top is too revealing, but oh no, don't wear that, because you'll look like your old grandma. So now you've created a climate in which it's okay to think of women as "less than", so now you have men thinking it's okay to harass women in the street, assault them, or have them cook, clean, raise children and work full-time. From there, it's a small step to creating an abusive spouse. It's not a different kettle of fish.
It truly is a death by a thousand cuts.

Avoiding discussion isn't the answer. Saying this isn't a safe space isn't the answer. Truly listening and not contributing to the emotional burden of having to explain stuff that's already in Hypatian's wonderful OP (see "Why don't women just ignore the people harassing them, or just tell them to stop?" for example). I feel as if there's been fewer and fewer women contributing here, and I'm pretty sure it's because they're exhausted (call me out, if I'm wrong, ladies). We're exhausted of having to counter the "what if"s, "well actually"s and "but"s.

Maq, thanks for creating the other thread.

Avoiding discussion isn't the answer. Saying this isn't a safe space isn't the answer. Truly listening and not contributing to the emotional burden of having to explain stuff that's already in Hypatian's wonderful OP (see "Why don't women just ignore the people harassing them, or just tell them to stop?" for example). I feel as if there's been fewer and fewer women contributing here, and I'm pretty sure it's because they're exhausted (call me out, if I'm wrong, ladies). We're exhausted of having to counter the "what if"s, "well actually"s and "but"s.

I popped in for the first time in a while and immediately saw rape apologia, so nah, you're right.

I'm so sorry, Freyja. Just this morning on Slack, I was saying that yours is one of the voices I missed.

I hope I'm not utterly hogging the thread, but two stories appeared in my news feed this afternoon, and I wanted to share them here.
The first is about Keira Knightley's interview in Variety Fair about her upcoming film Colette (which is about a famous French author, I can't wait to see it). Keira Knightley on the Conversations #MeToo Started for Her @ Mary Sue She touches on the #MeToo movement, and quote hit home in particular:

What’s been really interesting is that it’s not just this industry — it’s in every industry. I was surprised by some of the specifics. But I was aware of the culture of silencing women and the culture of bullying them, and I knew that men in the industry were allowed to behave in very different ways than women. That was obvious. What was fascinating about the #MeToo movement was I was sitting with friends who weren’t in the industry, and there wasn’t one of us who hadn’t been assaulted at some point. We’d never had that conversation before. That was an eye-opener.

Not much of a surprise, it's basically everywhere. She also mentions that filming Pirates was grueling, and that's the part where it dawned on me that she was 18 when the first one was made. I had no idea. I had absolutely no idea she was that young, she's a bit younger than I am, and that just... shook me. In 2003, she was 18 and played Elizabeth Swann in Pirates and young, recently married Juliet in Love Actually. That's just so many kinds of messed up. As a society, we're normalizing young girls, young women to be in these long committed relationships, when they're barely adults.

Survey reveals extreme gender bias plagues STEM – it must change @ New Scientist
This is a week old by now, but it'll surprise absolutely no one. Hostile environments galore.

Eleima wrote:

I'm so sorry, Freyja. Just this morning on Slack, I was saying that yours is one of the voices I missed.

I hope I'm not utterly hogging the thread, but two stories appeared in my news feed this afternoon, and I wanted to share them here.
The first is about Keira Knightley's interview in Variety Fair about her upcoming film Colette (which is about a famous French author, I can't wait to see it). Keira Knightley on the Conversations #MeToo Started for Her @ Mary Sue She touches on the #MeToo movement, and quote hit home in particular:

What’s been really interesting is that it’s not just this industry — it’s in every industry. I was surprised by some of the specifics. But I was aware of the culture of silencing women and the culture of bullying them, and I knew that men in the industry were allowed to behave in very different ways than women. That was obvious. What was fascinating about the #MeToo movement was I was sitting with friends who weren’t in the industry, and there wasn’t one of us who hadn’t been assaulted at some point. We’d never had that conversation before. That was an eye-opener.

Not much of a surprise, it's basically everywhere. She also mentions that filming Pirates was grueling, and that's the part where it dawned on me that she was 18 when the first one was made. I had no idea. I had absolutely no idea she was that young, she's a bit younger than I am, and that just... shook me. In 2003, she was 18 and played Elizabeth Swann in Pirates and young, recently married Juliet in Love Actually. That's just so many kinds of messed up. As a society, we're normalizing young girls, young women to be in these long committed relationships, when they're barely adults.

Survey reveals extreme gender bias plagues STEM – it must change @ New Scientist
This is a week old by now, but it'll surprise absolutely no one. Hostile environments galore.

Appolgies for quoting the whole post (I am bad at phone).

For the STEM related article you linked it is behind a paywall. Electing to be cheap does the article describe something specific about harassment in STEM or is it generally in line with harassment in general.

I ask because I am in an E field and I am curious if there is a more subtle behavior that I do not notice that I could attempt to address.

MOD

BadKen wrote:

However, it seems that I am incapable of commenting on some subjects without my comments being interpreted in the worst possible way because I express myself poorly. I am incapable of putting my thoughts across on sensitive subjects without coming across in the exact opposite of the way I want to. This isn't the first time it has happened on this site, or with people who frequent this site. So from now on I'm just going to avoid discussions like this altogether, despite the opportunities for learning and growing. I'll just stick to games.

As a general note, if we are truly interested in learning and growing, perhaps we should invest time in learning how to communicate more effectively instead of flouncing. (This applies to everyone.) Just some food for thought.

Garrcia wrote:
Eleima wrote:

Survey reveals extreme gender bias plagues STEM – it must change @ New Scientist
This is a week old by now, but it'll surprise absolutely no one. Hostile environments galore.

Apologies for quoting the whole post (I am bad at phone).
For the STEM related article you linked it is behind a paywall. Electing to be cheap does the article describe something specific about harassment in STEM or is it generally in line with harassment in general.
I ask because I am in an E field and I am curious if there is a more subtle behavior that I do not notice that I could attempt to address.

Hey Garrcia, sorry it took me a while to get back to you, but I wanted to make sure I got you a solid answer with enough substance to it to address your remarks in a pertinent way.
So this Pew Research Center survey polled different people from different fields in STEM. There is a pretty significant disparity in different fields, and all fields aren't affected the same way (which would make sense since not all fields have the same distribution when it comes to genders). There are a couple of graphs which kinda show this.
This is going to seem obvious for those well versed in statistics and epidemiology, but this study comes with a few caveats regarding biases (the usual, this is a survey, so it makes sense that those affected would more willingly answer the survey, etc, etc). However, it is in line with a body of evidence we've accumulated over the recent years. There's one survey in particular I know of, because it was in the media for a while here, and it polled medical residents (of all specialties). So definitely not an isolated thing.

To answer your specific query, Engineering is definitely more exposed, if only because there are fewer women (roughly 14% according to the data from a census PRC reports on, although it can be fewer in specific fields: 7% for sales engineers 7% and 8% for mechanical engineers). Behaviors general aren't specific to a field (the modus operandi of harassment is generally the same, regardless), but fields will come with different risks. The article even tackles race and ethnicity (although I wish they'd gone a bit further), because PoC women are unfortunately more likely to be harassed than white women.
A good analogy I thought of is diseases. The more you smoke, the greater your risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases. However, even if you don't smoke, you can still get lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases. That just makes you very unlucky.

Regarding issues you can address, I don't know that I'm particularly apt to give any good advice, because I've only heard rough guidelines from colleagues that provide classes on preventing harassment in the workplace, so this is all secondhand. What you can do, however, is work on creating safe spaces where victims will feel they can come through. This means you have to be vocal about your commitment to preventing this. Spotting harassment yourself can be really hard, because it's often done away from prying eyes and ears (which usually contributes to the whole self blaming, "am I crazy" approach you can experience as a victim). Not to mention that sometimes, you can be in denial, going back and forth on whether or not to come from. It's not always so clear cut.

Sorry, I hope this post isn't too rambly, and that I brought a few concepts to the table to help.

The best advice I saw about addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace boiled it down to three things: talk, listen, and believe.

Talk meant talking about it. Don't, like, white knight yourself and make sure there's a sign on your door that says, "Ladies, this is a safe space". But if you're a supervisor, make sure to regularly review sexual harassment guidelines and policies with your staff. Be willing to address and answer questions. Bring in HR to talk to people about what to do, what not to do, and how to report issues.

Listen means listen to people when they bring issues to you, and listen to the kinds of conversations around you. Eleima is right that most harassment happens where people can't see, but there's also a fair amount of it that's open and casual. Listen to that and respond to it. And again, listen when someone says that something bothers them or makes them uncomfortable, and pay attention to non-verbal cues of discomfort.

Believe means to believe people when they tell you that something has happened. It's amazing and depressing how often reports of sexual harassment are met with disbelief and denial. He's a nice guy, and he wouldn't do that; are you sure he didn't think you were flirting back; that's just Bob, he gets a bit handsy sometimes; etc. Believe people when they tell you these things and respond accordingly. Take it seriously, and push for appropriate action to be taken.

Thank you for the follow up Eleima. I appreciate the thought and thoroughness.

ClockworkHouse wrote:

The best advice I saw about addressing and preventing sexual harassment in the workplace boiled it down to three things: talk, listen, and believe.

I hope every guy here reads your post and takes that to heart. It is absolutely spot on.

The time I had to report a colleague for sexual harassment, it featured all three of those things.

Walgreens had annual sexual harassment meetings. I say had, because I have not been there for years, so things might have changed. They were a combination of videos and middle management speaking. They laid out what we were to look for, how important it was not to let anything go, and what the procedures were.

More importantly, and this is whatI think made the biggest impact, was that they emphasized that when we let harassment go, it cost the company money. They implored us the realize that acting on reports actually protects the company. It's ignoring this stuff that costs them. What this told me was that they actually meant this. It wasn't for show.

The woman who reported her harassment to me wasn't reporting anything. She was complaining about another manager that would come on to her, often in places out of view of anyone else. I let her vent, but then, and this is straight out of the "manual" one sexual harassment, I told her I had to report this guy to the store manager. I didn't ask her permission, but I laid out the process and let her choose how much she wanted participate, letting her know that Loss Prevention (which handles legal stuff in stores) would take to her.

I didn't white knight the guy. In fact, I never spoke another word to him, outside of normal closing duty stuff that night. I spoke to the manager first thing the next morning. So I had benefitted fro the talk, I listen to my employee, and I believed her. To be one fair, part of the procedure is not deciding whether to believe her or not, as it is not my role. My role was to let those with that responsibility made the assessment. But they couldn't do it unless I had taken her at her word and relayed what she said.

He was fired within a few days. Most importantly, it was completely drama free. I never spoke about it with another person after I reported it. I spoke with the woman a few times, to see if she had been contacted, but that was it. There was no store wide talk about who to believe or what really happened.

Those meetings directly made it easy for me to play my part in the process. I can't say the meetings were perfect, since I know of multiple managers that were forced to attend the same meetings that were fired for sexual harassment.

One worked with me, and would have been considered a guy that would never do that. He was leaving for such every day when a certain employee would leave, and try to get her to go out with him and have an affair. Yeah, he was married. Oh, and his wife was pregnant. That was before the incident I was talking about, and also helped clarify just how easily it could been any guy. And like my incident, I didn't know a thing until he washing walked out the door by Loss Prevention.

There is plenty of stuff I hate about Walgreens. But, at least in my district, they handled sexual harassment perfectly, in my view. And it really was amazing to me how many guys go down for this. Also, it pretty much ended any view, for me, that taking a hard line on harassment puts men at risk for getting fired over flirting and stuff. While there were many men that were fired, I never heard a single case where you would have defended his actions.

The US Gymnastics & Larry Nassar story has been shamefully under-covered in the media, for my money.

I truly do not see any way forward for USAG other than, as Aly Raisman suggested, burning the whole damn thing down and starting again. (If you haven't taken the time to listen to Raisman's victim impact statement, do so.)