I went out for drinks with the band tonight and ended up being the only woman to go. After a drink or two, the conversation turned to all the sexual harassment allegations in the news. While I think it's awesome that men are finally stepping into the conversation (and no prompting from me), lemme say... thank goodness there was a WOMAN at the table.
Some of the things I had to correct:
1) "I was in the corporate world for 40 years, and I never saw any sexual harassment."
- My reply: "Because you're a man. Unless your boss is gay, of course you didn't see it."
2) "Why would these women go to their boss's hotel room?"
- My reply: "Because he's your boss and you've just been ordered to go to where he is. That happens to be a hotel. What are you going to do, tell him no, risk getting fired for not obeying orders?"
3) "The majority of these accusations are disproven. Out of 40, only 4 actually happened."
- My reply: "No, a majority are UNABLE to be proven. That's not the same as being disproven. I can't PROVE the man who tried to rape me actually did that. That doesn't mean it didn't happen. Lack of evidence doesn't prove innocence, it just makes proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt next to impossible. 36 of the accusers simply don't have evidence or witnesses, and 4 times the guy got sloppy."
4) "This is all about asserting dominance, ego, and mostly happens in politics, Hollywood, and men in high positions."
- My reply: "The 16-year-old son of a phone repairman, the junior computer programmer, the ballot signature guy at college, and the fat 70-year-old man who stalks the city bus all day long aren't men in high positions. Those are only the ones that make the news. Most sexual assault is done by a friend of the family, not a boss."
5) "All a woman has to do is say it happened and the man can lose his job, unable to prove he's innocent."
- My reply: "Less than 30% of sexually assault cases even make it to a courtroom, and of those, less than half end up with a conviction. The important thing is to listen and never say 'I don't believe you.' The first person I told when I was assaulted said that, and because of that reaction I never reported it to police, nor even told my family. So never assume she's lying. That doesn't mean you have to assume he's lying, but first listen to her and her accusations, then seek out both sides of the argument."
6) "I remember men did this back in the 70s and it was okay. The rules changed."
- My reply: "Yes, the rules changed, because the rule used to be that a woman had to put up with men touching them without cringing away or frowning, just laugh it off even if you feel sick deep in your stomach. I honestly was taught to put up with the jokes men say or actions they do, no matter how uncomfortable it makes me. It was never OKAY, it was only tolerated by women who were forced through social pressure to stay silent."
7) "It's probably actually rare, it's just something the news decided to focus on now."
- My reply: "I could, all on my own, get about a dozen men in trouble due to sexually harassing or assaulting me. I am not even a particularly pretty or rich woman. If some average girl like me has been sexually harassed over a dozen times, and I'm not even in the corporate, political, or entertainment business, imagine how frequently this happens to a woman blessed with a physique men find sexy."
By the end of the night, they all agreed that it was important to have a woman weigh in on these issues, since obviously they are biased by the fact that no man ever groped them, or pinched their ass, or gave unwanted shoulder massages, or sent dick pics to them. They also are all convinced I was a lawyer in another life, haha!
I really am impressed with these men. Besides a few misconceptions, they really got it. Republicans, Democrats, those with no political affiliation, they all understood that this is a serious issue, the allegations are revolting, and we need to do something about this. More than half of the men at that table are retired. You wouldn't think they'd get into a conversation like this. However, one pointed out that he has a daughter who wrote "Me too" on Facebook, and it blew him away. He had no idea sexual harassment was an issue with his family, let alone his own child. He has an infant granddaughter, and he realizes that if we don't start to change things now, that girl may one day face the same degradation as his daughter did. non-formal garments for wedding in short length
As a man, he realizes he has the privilege and social power to make a difference and make women's voices heard.
He's doing that by now requiring that everyone in our band sign a form about sexual harassment. Earlier tonight, one band member during practice quipped, "What, we need to fill out a form to sexually harass women now? Do we have to learn how to do it right?" The 4 women present in the room did not find that to be funny. Those at drinks all agreed that this is precisely the sort of attitude we need to fix.
So they were talking about it. How to respect women and know one's boundaries is something to talk about over drinks now... and I think that's awesome.
But only when they have a woman around to point out when their male assumptions are dead wrong. :)