Sure, sexual harassment is funny in the movies. And pretty much nowhere else.

 

Considering the overwhelming sense of shock and outrage expressed in the mainstream media and on social media over the recent revelations about how deeply embedded sexual harassment appears to be in our culture, it might actually lead one to think that this is somehow a new problem that just appeared out of nowhere, catching most of America off guard. Nothing could be further from the truth.

That any of these stories we’ve been hearing is at all surprising is perhaps the biggest surprise of all.

Unfortunately, sexual harassment is as American as porn, prostitution and pole dancing. And at a time where even the POTUS is given a pass for a history of treating women as his own unwilling, personal sex toys – not to mention allegations of pedophilia and child molestation, it’s no wonder sexual harassment is not only pervasive in every rung of society, it’s accepted, and because of the apathy surrounding it, by default it’s even encouraged.

It has to be. What else can explain that 40% of American women have at one time been the victims of sexual harassment and sexual abuse in the workplace? Those are statistics that any country should be ashamed of. That it is true of the country that is supposedly the moral compass of freedom and liberty for the rest of the world makes it all the more distasteful.

It’s easy to brush it all off and absolve our collective guilt by attributing it as just another example of the abuse of power. The truth is much more disturbing and a lot more complex than that. What it comes down to is that we are ALL in on it. We ALL by making it possible, make it acceptable behavior.

You may think that because you don’t personally participate in this kind of behavior, you aren’t part of the problem.

You are wrong. And it’s not even open to debate.

If you own a business and you don’t take a stand against sexual harassment in your company during orientation for new employees, meaning you actually make a point of discussing it out loud and out in the open, you are part of the problem.

Including a throwaway statement of company policy regarding sexual harassment in a your employee handbook is tantamount to giving it about the same weight as how you cover your company vacation policy.

If you hear rumblings and “rumors” in passing about someone who has, or is “allegedly” engaging in this kind of behavior and you just “let it slide”, by doing so, whether you care to admit it or not, you’re an accessory after the fact. By not tracing the root of these stories back to their original source to find out if they’re true or not, you are condoning the existence of an environment that gives perpetrators of sexual harassment safe harbor.

If you notice something suddenly isn’t “quite right” about the behavior of a female co-worker after she recently interacted with a male colleague or peer and you pretend not to notice it or you leave it alone, you are effectively playing wingman to a sexual predator.

You don’t get the benefit of the doubt just because you can’t be 100% sure anything happened if you don’t get 100% confirmation that it wasn’t just your imagination that something untoward went down.

The bottom line about this unforgivable blight on our culture is this: Sexual harassment doesn’t survive and thrive in any workplace or any place in society without the help of those who are aware of it happening not doing something about it.

We owe it to all the victims of sexual harassment and sexual abuse to do whatever it takes to let them know we are on their side and that we will do the right thing on their behalf – by any means necessary.

 

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