Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Some Thoughts on Sexual Harassment and Cain

As a former college professor, I know what every college instructor knows, "Never let the door to your office be closed when counseling a female student". At the public school grade level, the rule is, "Don't touch or hug a student regardless of their emotional distress and need for comfort". Recently a kindergarten boy was disciplined for sexual harassment because he hugged a girl. This is where we are.

When I was young I worked in factories and restaurants. There was a constant and steady stream of sexually suggestive banter going on all the time between males and females - as often as not initiated by the females. After President Clinton's escapades became known (Clinton's main historical note will be that he introduced the idea of oral sex to our grammar school students), supervisors in factories and restaurants were warned to observe and step in if it appeared that a female looked like she "felt uncomfortable" with the banter. This was to prevent an expensive, she said-he said lawsuit that the company would usually lose - along with the wasted time of all involved.

Where am I going with all this? Sexual overtures only become sexual harassment when a person holding power over another punishes that person when those overtures are rejected. Someone is going to have to show me that testimony taken under oath resulted in a judgement against Herman Cain that he punished someone for rejecting his advances. Sexual banter only becomes sexual harassment when someone complains, and the banter doesn't stop. Neither normal sexual banter nor mistaken intentions on either side constitute sexual harassment.

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At 7:05 AM, Anonymous Errol Phillips said...

You are assuming he is guilty of the charges ... I remain unconvinced at this point

At 7:31 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

Errol, How do you conclude this? You should read my previous post.

At 9:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I disagree regarding this one point - Sexual overtures only become sexual harassment when a person holding power over another PUNISHES that person when those overtures are rejected.

Harrassment is harrassment - whether followed by punishment or not is not relevant.

Case in point - If Cain asked for sex as he slid his hand under her dress to her crotch it does not matter what happens next...the harrassment has already occured, particularly if he said you want the job don't you...

At 9:56 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

Steve, If what Sharon Bialek said is true, that's not sexual harassment, that's an assault. If she invited it, it's nobody's business. This is a very murky area.


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