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The Problem Of Harassment in The Workplace

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In 2017 there were 12,428 sexual harassment cases reported to the EEOC. The amount of cases reported since 2010 has been consistent. I believe that something needs to be done in order to lower these numbers and stop this tragic problem. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) motive is to enforce laws that illegalize the discriminations against employees for their race, color, religion, sex, etc. I will discuss examples of harassment in the workplace, what needs to be done in order to lower the number of sexual harassment cases, and why people may not want sexual harassment laws to be placed into action.

Those who are sexually harassed haven’t always spoke up against their offenders, but times are changing. We are willing to speak up against those who are abusing their power to get what they want sexually. The result of those speaking out has taken down big names like: Harvey Weinstein, Bill Crosby, and Matt Lauer. There are still a significant number of sexual offenders who walk away unpunished. Trump has at least 13 accusations of sexual assault. R.Kelly has been accused of emotional abuse and sex with underage women, and child pornography. The U.S. Former president George Bush has been accused of assault towards six women. The list of those accused of sexual assault continues.

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In November of 2017 Matt Lauer was fired from NBC for sexual harassment where he was a co-host of the Today show. Lauer was making about twenty million a year. NBC received multiple complaints about Lauer. One of these cases the woman described Lauer to have locked the door of his office and sexually harassed her. He had her come in his office and had a button on his desk he was able to press that locked the door. This changed “an instrument of security into an instrument of violence” said Doreen St. Félix. She had passed out and was taken to a nurse. This case happened in 2001 but wasn’t reported until 2017 the woman said she was afraid to lose her job and was ashamed of what happened. There was another report against Lauer who said that he began to assault her as he covered the 2014 Olympics in Russia. A civil rights lawyer who represented the woman told Times after a meeting with NBC that, “Our impression at this point is that NBC acted quickly, as all companies should, when confronted with credible allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace.” The actions taken by NBC were necessary and respected. Lauer needed to be given consequences for his actions.

Harvey Weinstein once a giant in the movie business now bound to only travel in New York and Connecticut. He turned himself in for two counts of rape and one count of a criminal sexual act. In 2015 he invited a model into his office, later that night she went to the police station and reported that Weinstein had, “lunged at her, groping her breasts, and attempting to put a hand up her skirt while she protested.” This behavior should not have to be tolerated by women. Those who act in this way should always have a punishment for their actions. I think that they need to be fined to an extent that they are so afraid to sexually assault women. Weinstein turned himself in at the same police station in New York where the model had reported him. He was finally stopped from causing women pain and anguish. After the model Weinstein wasn’t done sexually assaulting woman. There is another case where a woman reports that Weinstein forced her to perform sexual favors for him and that he was too strong and overpowering. She was at a club when he approached her and offered career opportunities as she talked to him he then forced her to perform oral sex. She went against Weinstein and told her story even though it caused her immense emotional damage in order to stop him from doing this to more women.

Bill Crosby is another big name who has been found guilty of sexual assault. There were dozens of accounts from women that said he drugged them and sexually abused them. In 2004 Crosby met Andrea Constand. She worked at Temple University alongside Crosby who she considered a mentor. He gave her three blue pills and told her they would help relieve her stress instead she passed out on the couch. She said, “I couldn’t say anything, I was trying to get my hands to move, my legs to move, and the message just wasn’t getting there.” The use of drugs takes away the consent of those being sexually assaulted. Their choice is taken away and they are left to be harassed.

Our very own president Donald Trump has been accused of groping, assaulting, and harassing women. Trump has bragged about getting women without their consent he once said, “Just kiss. I don’t even wait. When you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” I think that the way that Trump diminishes women should not be tolerated. He treats them as objects and trophies in a collection of things he has triumphed. The power Trump and other men shouldn’t allow them room to get away with anything. One woman named Rachel Crooks shares her interaction with trump. She was working for a real estate investment in Trump Tower. She met Mr. Trump outside the elevator and politely introduced herself. He didn’t let go of her and began kissing her. Ms. Crooks later said in an interview, “I was so upset that he though I was so insignificant that he could do that.” These powerful men have so much power they are able to get away with almost anything. Trump diminishes woman and treat them as if they’re worthless and no one is doing anything about it. This isn’t okay we need to take a stand and make a difference.

The number of sexual harassment cases is far too high, and something needs to be done in order to lower this number. There have been, “219 celebrities, politicians, CEOs, and others who have been accused of sexual misconduct since April 2017.” This needs to stop. I think that we need to increase the fines when those who have sexually harassed others are caught. They need to be fined so significantly that they are too afraid to take action. The Me-Too movement has been largely impactful in helping woman to have a voice and not be alone. The first thing seen on the website of the movement is “You are not alone. 17,700,000 women have reported a sexual assault since 1998.” I read that and realized that is only a year before I was born. In 19 years this many women have been sexually harassed. The number terrifies me and calls me to action.

However, I know that sexual harassment will never be completely gone. I believe we need to continue making the charges and fines for those accused more significant. I think it’s also important to support those who are going through the emotional damage involved in the lives of those who are sexually harassed. “The me-too movement was founded in 2006 to help survivors of sexual violence, particularly young women of color from low wealth communities, find pathways to healing.” I love the purpose of the me-too movement and I think it’s an important group much needed as the cases of sexual harassment continue to grow. The me-too movements website says, “We want perpetrators to be held accountable and we want strategies implemented to sustain long term, systemic change.” I don’t think this could be phrased better. The me-too movement is ready to make a change and has millions of women’s voices behind them. They are ready to take a stand and are ready to share their stories, so the public can get a glimpse of the impact sexual harassment has on the lives of women in the workforce and world.

In a recent twitter thread, the me-too founder Tarana Burke expresses her opinion on the me too movement and famous men’s reactions. There are famous men who believe that the me-too movement has put particularly strict rules that no longer allow men the satisfaction of pleasing and dating women. Henry Cavill says, “It’s very difficult to do that if there are certain rules in place. Because then it’s like, well I don’t want to go up and talk to her, because I’m going to be called a rapist or something.” He expresses how he is afraid to date because of the movement and fears he may be called out for something that no one but he will know what actually happened. Burke responds upset with his comment but even more upset about how the media has portrayed the movement. The media tries to put the movement at fault and level the playing field. They are trying to diminish the harm these men have caused many women. The media accuses the me-too movement as, “Snaring 414 High profile people” and “these High-Profile men were brought down by #Metoo. Now they’re plotting their comebacks.” The list continues saying, “15 Careers Destroyed” and “#Me too has singled more than 400 high-profile people.” The way the media speaks about the movement is disturbing. In response to these headlines Burke says, “I wish I could really make mainstream media understand how dangerous this language and posturing is for survivors of sexual violence and harassment.” The movement itself is to help those who were afraid to speak up alone. It gives them a cover and voice where they are able to see the consequences of men whose behaviors were inadequate. Burke says the movement has just, “allowed people to hear us better as a chorus and not a solo.” The movement has given women an opportunity to be heard and not alone. They are less fearful of sharing their stories and helping those who have committed these assaults to receive the consequences.

Ramani Durvasula a licensed clinical psychologist says along with Cavill, “some of her male clients now say they feel censored when it comes to dating.” The problem isn’t the movement but more so the behaviors of these men while dating. Durvasual recommends that if men are afraid to date after the movement they should try, “to be present with someone, learning what that person is about and who that person is and letting the individual set the dating pace…It’s not about bagging a prize.” Although many men seem to be upset with the me too the movement isn’t to blame. We all need to be aware of how we are treating others and how our actions may affect someone. It is important to respect other people’s boundaries. If men are unsure of whether the movement is going to cause someone to accuse them of allegations they most likely shouldn’t be doing what they are.

Those against the me-too movement involve Catherine Deneuve and more than 100 other Frenchwoman. They think the movement has gone too far and are unnecessarily humiliating men for private matters that have taken place. She says, “Rape is a crime. But insistent or clumsy flirting is not a crime, nor is gallantry a chauvinist aggression.” She believes that they are blowing the acts of these men out of proportion. They think the movement has placed men who are innocent in the same category as extreme criminals and haven’t given them a fair chance of defending themselves. These women think that the sexual freedoms are being taken away. She says, “Men have been punished summarily, forced out of their jobs when all they did was touch someone’s knee or try to steal a kiss.” These women think men should be able to hit on women. These women don’t understand the extent to which some members of the me too movement have been harassed. They have been raped or had men reach up their skirts. This isn’t about being flirted with but being harassed. There is no consent for any of their behaviors and these men are simply using their power to control these women. Durvasula says, “Ultimately, treating #MeToo as something abnormal because it holds men accountable for their behavior speaks volumes about men who feel that way. A potential partner wants to feel desirable and attractive, not like a prize or prey. There’s a difference.” This shows that the way women are being treated is unacceptable and shouldn’t be ignored. The movement is helping bring awareness to an issue that is very significant.

Malcom X said, “A man who stands for nothing falls for anything.” These are the words reiterated by a high school valedictorian named Lulabel Seitz. During the Petaluma graduation, Seitz spoke up about sexual assault allegations at her high school immediately they cut her mic. She continued to speak as the audience chanted “Let her speak” however the officials at the school never turned the mic back on. Seitz said to her graduating class, “we may be a new generation, but we are not too young to speak up, to dream and to create change, which is why, even when some people on this campus, those same people in which some people defend perpetrators of sexual assaults and silence their victims.” Although the officials at her school wouldn’t let her speak because they were worried of how it would reflect them badly she still spoke up. Seitz tried to stand up for what she believed and although she barely graduated high school she wasn’t afraid to be a voice. We need more people who are willing to stand up against their offenders and try to make a difference. We may be threatened at times and told not to stand up, but we have to say what’s right. We have to be willing to create change otherwise the number of sexual harassment will continue to be consistent.

As I wrote this essay I learned how so many men get away with sexual harassment. It wasn’t until recently that women actually started to speak out against their accusers. The me-too movement has been a significant resource to women and has allowed them to have a voice in a crowd and not have to stand alone. The past couple years we have started to see a change within society. The men who have harassed these women are starting to have consequences for their actions. They aren’t able to get away with anything as easily. The problem has got better but there are still many women who haven’t come forward and are too afraid to speak up. There are still men who harass women without consequences. There are still changes that need to be made in order to resolve this issue. I think the first step is to continue support systems like the me-too movement and to continue giving those who are harassed a voice, so they aren’t alone. The other change that needs to be made is that the charges of those who are found guilty of sexual harassment need to be so significant that these men are so afraid they won’t harm these women. The consequences are too subtle for high power men and they are able to get away without a scratch at times. Although there are people who are against the me-too movement and don’t see the sexual harassment problem today the statistics have proven otherwise. There are significant numbers of sexual harassment cases and the number must be smaller. We need to do something.


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