The spotlight shines on Hollywood’s history of sexual harassment of female celebrities by male moguls. Is it time to shine the light on sexual harassment of ordinary females in the workplace by male bosses? Patricia Cornwell wrote, “I believe the root of all evil is abuse of power.”
Recap: The “Me Too” movement, an international movement against sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and sexual assault, went viral in October 2017 as a hashtag on social media. The power dynamics of employee and employer relationships is being discussed, desiccated and debated in the media.
Sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and sexual assault have different definitions.
Sexual misconduct is an umbrella term, and companies can form their own sexual policies, which can be more expansive or more limited than state laws. For example, Ohio State University defines sexual misconduct as “conduct of a sexual nature or conduct based on sex or gender that is nonconsensual or has the effect of threatening, intimidating or coercing a person.” www.titleix.osu.edu.
The definition of sexual harassment includes “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision,” according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. www.eeoc.gov.
The U.S. Department of Justice defines sexual assault as “any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by federal, tribal or state law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.” www.justice.gov.
We cannot clump violations and crimes together in the same bundle, legally or morally. There are different types of offenders and offenses. So there will be different consequences and punishments.
Yes, it was long overdue for the Hollywood movie moguls to be held accountable and/or ousted for misusing positions of power to sexually harass budding celebrities. Tycoons of terror who threatened to hold opportunity hostage in exchange for appeasement of sexual appetite — outlandish ogres with narcissist natures and entitlement egos.
And the magnate newsmen that treated females as sexual objects for their own distorted gratification behind the television camera, but masqueraded as men of integrity, decency and honor in front of the camera — hypocrites. “The greater the power, the more dangerous the abuse,” surmised Edmund Burke.
The powerful perverts of paradise are being taken to task by women who’ve found a collective voice and a worldwide platform. Courage faces coward. Will justice prevail?
And what do I say to those (both women and men) who criticize and blame/shame the actresses for not walking away from future careers in showbiz, for not making a police report or for not going to the top of the heap to find help from a more powerful male in charge? I ask “What if that was your daughter?” Because it’s not about fame or fortune, it’s about human dignity and the right to Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness as penned in the Declaration of Independence. Walk a mile in her stiletto heels before you judge her.
#MeToo Ordinary Women
But, what about the victims who are ordinary people? The females in every industry from blue collar to white collar who suffered through sexual harassment to keep their jobs — to support families, to pay the mortgage, to buy food, to stay out of homeless shelters or to save for their child’s college tuition.
Nurses harassed by doctors. Teachers harassed by principals. Attorneys harassed by senior partners. Players harassed by coaches. Soldiers harassed by sergeants. Police officers harassed by the Chef of Police. Clerical staff harassed by CEOs. And the list goes on. Any female employee supervised by a person in authority (or by a coworker) can be sexually harassed.
Charles de Gaulle wrote, “Silence is the ultimate weapon of power.”
Again I ask, “What if that was your daughter?”
Melissa Martin, Ph.D., is an author, self-syndicated columnist, educator and therapist. She resides in Scioto County, Ohio. www.melissamartinchildrensauthor.com. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.