Sexual Harassment in the Work Place

Today the phrase “sexual harassment” may have different meanings to different people. It is real and it needs to stop. Also, it can be a phrase that is misunderstood, misused and abused.

In my 27-year career as a court reporter, I have been exposed to countless sexual harassment lawsuits. I have listened to countless witnesses testify under oath about sexual harassment. There were many instances where the harassment was legitimate and unacceptable. Unfortunately, there were also many instances where the harassment was merely flirtatious behavior by both parties and/or instances where people behaved immaturely.

I have been subjected to many episodes of what is now termed as sexual harassment. However, when it occurred, I chalked it up to aggressive flirting and/or immature behavior on the part of my male friends and colleagues. I did not feel threatened or ridiculed by any of the incidents. Did they anger me? Sometimes. Did they physically or emotionally harm me? No. Was I responsible for same? Yes, many times.

What I experienced and what I feel is exactly that; my experiences and my feelings. Having experienced sexual harassment and having heard countless cases has provided me with an acute awareness of how sensitive and reckless our society has become in this regard. When situations such as this come to the media’s attention, everything gets blown out of proportion such that society tends to label and point fingers excessively, bringing panic and discord to many people’s lives who do not deserve it. Perhaps this is necessary in order to “right the ship” again, so that it will end up where it needs to be. I don’t know. In the meantime, it is a slippery slope we must navigate when it comes to proclaiming anything these days.

For help regarding sexual harassment and to speak with someone who is trained to help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.

An Anonymous Opinion:

“In our current society the lines between inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment are becoming murky. One person’s viewpoint of sexual harassment may be another’s bad choice of humor. Our societies growing sensitivity to this topic is one to be noticed. So many times individuals falsely claim sexual harassment which destroys the assailant’s livelihood. Even if the assailant is “cleared” of the charges, life does not go back to normal for that individual or their families. It hangs over them for years to follow like a dark cloud. Then on the flip side, individuals who are truly being sexually harassed are often not heard, either from embarrassment and not coming forward or the fact that money talks. The assailant pays off whomever they need to keeps the matter from becoming public. Both scenarios are a real and current problem in today’s society. Even though our legal system always has room for improvement, the best mode of action for a victim of sexual harassment is to come forward at whatever the cost. Stop the harassment legally and move on with life!”

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