While trying not to indulge in schadenfreude over those hypocritical Hollywood elites who've claimed to stand for "women's rights," only to be accused of sexually harassing them, I noticed "(hashtag)MeToo" trending on Twitter. At (hashtag)MeToo, women who have been sexually harassed are invited to post their experiences and many have done so, including four female U.S. senators.
I asked my adult daughter and oldest granddaughter if they had ever encountered sexual harassment. My daughter said at a previous job her boss "invited" her to sit on his lap. She refused and no longer works there.
Even more shocking was the response I received from my granddaughter, who is a nurse at a hospital in San Antonio, Texas. I reprint her account (with her permission) because it contains a lesson, not only for men, but for the male-dominated culture.
I will not use her last name to protect her from more bad experiences. Crystal writes:
"It's a tough subject to speak on. Personally, I have been sexually harassed many times in my workplace and generally speaking. All the jobs I have ever had, there has been sexual harassment. I am a nurse and have had doctors make inappropriate comments. I've felt very uncomfortable and have tried to ignore or 'laugh off' the remarks for fear of retaliation. These are doctors I have needed orders from for my patients. The last thing I need is for them to be mad at me. So, when I see the ones who have made inappropriate remarks, I smile and say hello. I'm sure if I ever went to report (them) it would somehow be turned on me like I did something wrong. So I just 'laugh it off' and move on, because, just like Harvey (Weinstein), doctors are the ones bringing in the big bucks and are granted immunity for certain things ... i.e., sexual harassment.
"Generally speaking when instances occur outside of work I have stood up for myself, and am then treated as if I am wrong for doing so."
Commenting on pictures of Hollywood actresses hugging Weinstein, Crystal continues: "I understand why these women are all smiles with this man. He is powerful in their community. He has power over their career. And I'm sure he is the reason they are famous. Like me, and so many others, these women were afraid to speak up and to stand up to this man fearing their livelihood would be negatively affected.
"Females deal with this BS constantly ... it's never comfortable, especially when you have to continue seeing or working with the person/people. It's always an awkward situation to be in, especially when the person has a higher position of power.
"As a mother ... I think it's important to teach our children to stick up for themselves always, and it's never OK for someone to harass them in any way. It's equally important for boys and girls to learn this. It's important to teach right and wrong and promote what is right ALWAYS."
Powerful stuff, but in an age when the lines between right and wrong, good and bad are blurred, if not eliminated, and with culture and opinion polls defining moral standards which are constantly in flux, sexual harassment is only one of many consequences when "societal norms" are obliterated.
Perhaps the best way to address this is to put more women in charge -- the right kind of women, like Crystal.