Sexual Harrasment

Unless you have been living under a rock I am sure you have heard of the multiple sexual assaults, scandals, and stories of sexual harassment in the news. From the politicians to Hollywood, to the workplace, it’s everywhere. Personally, I think that it is a good thing because it brings awareness to a problem that we have had in this nation for a long time. In fact, I dare say that this has happened so often and is such a part of our “culture” that up until now people just accepted it or suffered silently. Hopefully, now that it is being brought to light, changes will be made and people will become more aware of what they are doing.

Speaking of awareness I saw this picture posted on twitter a few days ago.

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Pretty funny picture but even more entertaining was the comment from the woman saying to beware of men who think this way. Was this a failed attempt at humor? Yes, especially considering today’s climate. Also if he were being serious, the 300 feet thing was definitely a little on the overkill side. With all of that being said I still somewhat agree with this man.

At least in regards to the workplace. I can imagine that some of you who have jobs have at some point been through sexual harassment training or briefings. If you actually paid attention or remained awake during the presentation you would have learned quite a few things. You know what, I’m just going to go onto the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) website and copy and paste what is considered sexual harassment

It is unlawful to harass a person (an applicant or employee) because of that person’s sex. Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.
Harassment does not have to be of a sexual nature, however, and can include offensive remarks about a person’s sex. For example, it is illegal to harass a woman by making offensive comments about women in general.
Both victim and the harasser can be either a woman or a man, and the victim and harasser can be the same sex.

So now that we have this explained let me continue. I am going to focus on the more subtle forms of sexual harassment, not the blatant kind that happens (i.e. someone being told they have to perform sexual acts to keep their job, or a woman flat out telling you what you are saying or doing is making her feel uncomfortable, etc.). I’ll throw an example out there. Let’s say you are a male at your cubicle and you are talking to another male about a date you had last night and it get’s explicit, as you get into details over what happened maybe a female coworker walks by and hears that conversation. Guess what, if she feels offended and reports it, it can be classified as sexual harassment. So does this make you a sexual predator or does this mean either A. You talk too much (because you shouldn’t share those stories anyway) B. You talk too loud or C. Your coworker shouldn’t have been being so nosey and ear hustling. It doesn’t matter, either way, it is wrong and can land you in trouble as it should.

You know another reason, in regards to men that I like that these stories are coming to light, is that it is actually making us think and reevaluate how we interact with women. I think more often than not we speak without thinking and you could see how that could be problematic. I also think that it is good that we reevaluate certain things we were taught or not taught as men. Just because our fathers or uncles did things a certain way or just because something is “tradition” or “the way it has always been” doesn’t mean it is right.

I understand that the workplace shouldn’t be boring and it should be fun but I am a firm believer that there’s a time and a place for everything and maybe, just maybe the workplace is one of those places where you shouldn’t be flirting or trying to hook up with someone.

Lol and I don’t care how many episodes of Criminal Minds that you saw and how much you liked the interaction between Garcia and Shemar Moore’s character (Derrick Morgan). FYI calling her baby girl was corny in my opinion but I digress.

Speaking of harassment that’s another thing, it can be subjective. I saw this posted on Facebook yesterday.

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Where exactly is the lie in this picture? The thing is that if a woman in the workplace finds a man attractive or has interest in him, more often than not she would not be offended by comments like these. Whereas if it is the creepy old man or the married, flirty man who she can’t stand it could be a problem. Ok, I’m done speaking on women, you like what you like and you aren’t going to listen to me anyway. Instead, I will speak to men.

I get it, maybe you think you are an attractive guy or maybe you saw your coworker flirting with another guy. Hell, maybe you think she gave you a sign that she is interested or maybe your flirting has worked before. That all sounds well and good but is it really worth the risk? You know, I get it more so in a club setting. Like, the risks are maybe rejection, being clowned or wasting a few dollars on drinks and possibly having to go home alone but that’s it. Meanwhile, the risk of doing this on your job could be the loss of income and unemployment or even more.  So while I understand how attractive your coworker may be, is it really worth the risk?

Like you have so little self-control that you can’t just “turn the charm off” for a few hours a day at work? There are a lot of things that you can’t do at your job that you may be able to do outside of it, get over it or find a new job.

This is one of the multiple reasons why I am so quiet at work. Quiet, which is not to be confused with being rude and anti-social. For starters, I do speak when spoken to and if I make eye contact with someone I acknowledge them as well. I also practice traditional courteous things such as holding doors, letting women walk out the elevator first etc. but that’s about it. I also tend to only really converse with people who actually work in my department and I attempt to keep the majority of these conversations work related. This seems to have worked thus far.

I’m not doing this because I don’t know how to act around women or because I am a sexual predator. I do this because I actually like my job and I like paying my bills in a somewhat timely manner. I was also taught that it was better to be safe than sorry. So if you treat everyone the same and keep respectful, professional relationships at work, usually this will keep you out of trouble. I can’t judge or get upset with other men if they are beginning to feel the same way too. The main thing is that harassment stops happening and if it ruffles a few men’s feathers or makes them feel as if they have to be more cautious or maybe they are now in their feelings, who cares? Be uncomfortable, I imagine that some of your female coworkers have been even more uncomfortable and fearful over the years than you could imagine.

 

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