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Let's talk about sexual harassment

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Evangelicalhumanist, Mar 3, 2021.

  1. Evangelicalhumanist

    Evangelicalhumanist "Truth" isn't a thing...
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    So NY Governor Cuomo is the latest to undergo accusations of sexual harassment, which may well end his political career -- maybe not this term, but it might scotch any run for another one. (Of course, there are other issues that could scotch that, too, like long-term-care homes and COVID-19.)

    But you know, I find it hard to know what should or should not be considered sexual harassment. Some examples:
    • I'm at a party, and there's this gorgeous chick who accepts to dance with me, and at the end I reach out to her waist, and pull her a little closer to me...but that's all
    • I'm at a party, and there's a girl sitting on the couch beside me, and I lean over and kiss her on the cheek
    • I'm in the office, and there's just me and my secretary -- and I ask her if she'd like to go for a drink later
    • I'm a gay guy, and I tell somebody I've met in a bar that I think he's gorgeous, and I'd like to .... um, you know, to his what's-it
    • I'm a Congressman in a public bathroom, and I signal under the wall of my cubical to the guy in the next one that I'd be interested in, um, gosh, why is this so hard to say within forum rules?
    Human relationships are really complex. Unless you've got a Yenta, or a Pater Familias, or whomever, arranging who you are going to meet, marry and live with, you're left with trying to find ways to hook up on your own. That can be hard -- you have to find ways to express your interest, even your sexual interest, without stepping over the line that makes that expression of interest "harassment."

    Think of your own examples -- then discuss.
     
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  2. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    I always successfully completed the online compliance training on harrassment...Pretty much anything might be construed, in context...yours and theirs, and someone just watching from the sidelines...
     
  3. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    That is the only one that is definitely sexual harassment. If your secretary asks the boss to go out for a drink then its not necessarily harassment unless there is pressure on the boss, but if the boss does it is as there is always pressure from top town. My opinion, not anything I've read. The difference is that by saying 'No' to the boss the secretary risks financial disaster.
     
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  4. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    There's of course the obvious "yes means yes; no means no" But this can be a really tough area. I had a boss once who told an out lesbian to get a boyfriend because she'd find she liked it. She snapped back to him to get a boyfriend for the same reason. It was OK with that boss because he like to push people to make sure they'd push back. She knew what the game was and was not offended. Later on, he was accused of harassment for doing something similar with another person.
     
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  5. Shaul

    Shaul Well-Known Member

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    Even if she wants the advances it could still be sexual harassment even if both parties agree. A third person, say a coworker, could argue that it creates an unfair workplace environment. The boss’s new girl gets preferential treatment that Miss Not-cozy-with-the-boss doesn’t get. What constitutes sexual harassment is the unfair work environment, not against whom it is unfair.
     
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  6. Shaul

    Shaul Well-Known Member

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    Fascinating. When did you work for these Democrats? JK :p
     
  7. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    I don't know what you are referring to so

    [​IMG]
     
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  8. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Always try to offend someone you care about as soon as possible. If you can't and you get a sensible counter, you have a friend.
    If you "succeed", you'd have done that anyway, sometime. Better sooner than later, for both of you.
     
  9. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    None of the examples you give is an appropriate thing to do, unless you are given a signal by the other party first. That seems fairly obvious to me.

    I don't see the difficulty here, but if you like I can spell out in each case it should not be done.
     
  10. PureX

    PureX Veteran Member

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    I can't think of one good reason why any reasonable, responsible adult would need to do any of those things. Or think any of those things is appropriate adult behavior.
     
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  11. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    On the dancing one, if the girl makes a lot of contact with you deliberately, which she will do if she's keen on you, then you could risk putting your arm, gently, round her waist, without pulling her towards you, and see what she does. Either she will disengage herself, or she will relax into your arm and come to you. She may even turn to you and snog you. When she is keen, it will in my experience be unambiguous. So no need or excuse for forcing yourself on her. (If she does none of those things, she's conflicted or weird, and bad news - and you had better get away from her.;))
     
  12. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    Isn't this the problem though? People can either genuinely misinterpret a signal or they can pretend to have misinterpreted a signal in order to downplay their behaviour. Keep in mind that not everybody is good at picking up on social cues.

    Flip this around and have it be the man who's making a lot of deliberate contact or turning to snog somebody. Would that be appropriate?
     
  13. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    No. Because it is generally men that are liable to be sexually aggressive. That is just a fact. So it is for the man to show he is not being aggressive in a situation like this.

    And yes, people do misinterpret signals. All the more reason to make any move gently and reversibly, with an implied question mark, to avoid embarrassment or offence, I should have thought.

    I have to say though, that while I was at ease with the signalling of girls from Europe (or S America), I found American girls seemed to operate by a different set of rules, so I gave them a wide berth;).
     
  14. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    Oh do tell!
     
  15. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    I disagree here, it seems to me that sexual harassment can go both ways. Some years back, I was dancing with a woman in a club who tried to stick her hands down my pants. That's an extreme example perhaps but it should serve to demonstrate that sexual aggression isn't exclusive to one sex.

    True. The problem though is that by the time somebody indicates that they're uncomfortable, it's because you've already made them uncomfortable.

    An excellent point. There can be cultural differences that somebody might not be aware of.
     
  16. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    Nothing juicy I'm afraid. Just....life, Jim, but not as we know it.:shrug:
     
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  17. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    Well obviously there can be examples of women exhibiting predatory behaviour towards men, but it is emphatically not the norm, as any glance at the newspapers will confirm. Social codes are designed around what is usual, are they not?
     
  18. Erebus

    Erebus Well-Known Member

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    To an extent perhaps, though social codes are also subject to change. Consider what was seen as acceptable treatment of women 50 years ago, 100 years ago and 1000 years ago. What's usual and what's right aren't necessarily the same thing.
     
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  19. viole

    viole Metaphysical Naturalist
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    Well, that will lead to an infinite regress, if we play it safe.

    Ciao

    - viole
     
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  20. viole

    viole Metaphysical Naturalist
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    Welcome to the 21st century, where the safest way to find the partner of your life is a dating app.

    Ciao

    - viole
     
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