With all the recent revelations about sexual harassment, we asked members of the Times-Union/Jacksonville.com Email Interactive Group what their thoughts are about all the allegations, why it has taken so long for the allegations to come out and whether employers have done enough. Because of the great number of responses, we will run some this week and the rest next week. Here is the initial group of responses:
Enough of these harassment charges when automatically the woman is the poor victim and the man is an animal (although some are). The corporate office or any place men and women must work together, you’ll see women cheating on spouses while at work, more than you would think! Women, single and married, openly flirt with/tease the men. Do these women tell the man they’re not interested and to stop? Probably not, possibly from fear of losing their job or a possible promotion. Jobs are a dime a dozen, quit! To me, harassment is a two-way street and many women are just as guilty of harassment, taunting or teasing of the men. … There needs to be a one-year window to bring charges. That’s it. If more than one year, it wasn’t that important and there needs to be jail time for the accuser because of the lasting damage that can be done to the accused. I believe we would have Herman Cain as our president except for the gold diggers who ruined his image at the last minute. If anyone is being sexually harassed, talk with one of our many law firms in Jacksonville for guidance on how to legally document the events and how to stop it.
Michael Prosek, Intracoastal South
Recently, a published opinion from a knuckle-dragging troglodyte essentially blamed women, and not men, for sexual harassment. According to the writer, these Jezebels brazenly flaunt their wares in the faces of men in order to tempt them sexually. Therefore, you can’t blame men for being men who fall victim to women’s overt sexuality. Maybe in his world women are just “asking for it” through their dress and demeanor. I get it that biologically we are predisposed to mate and produce progeny and the 7 billion people on this planet is proof that nature works as planned. But the search for a mate is based on love and mutual respect resulting in sex and not sex resulting from the coercive power of their position. To this end, brave women have come forward to confront the men who use power to satisfy their perverted needs. It little matters if these men are shift supervisors at a fast food restaurant, the president of the United States, or a judge running for the Senate. Their use of positional power is wrong. I simply can’t believe that dozens of women of diverse backgrounds and ages who felt that they alone had fallen victim to sexual harassment, met secretly and decided to lie about sexual harassment for political or financial reasons. If men are running scared through the halls of power, they can blame Harvey Weinstein for opening the Pandora’s Box that enabled women for the first time to publically decry that their silence was no longer a virtue. The lame excuses used by the perpetrators would be laughable if a male-dominated society did not condone and portray these men as victims instead of the pedophiles and rapists that they truly are. Let’s not quibble; men who have sex through coercive force in any manner are rapists. There is no room in my world for these men, or in some cases women, who use their power to denigrate others for their personal sexual gratification. The sooner these troglodytes are weeded out of the system, shunned and banished the sooner society can move forward professionally, culturally and socially.
John Derin, Fleming Island
Sexual harassment is as old as time itself, because there have always been people in power who believe themselves above the law. In times of war, sexual attacks and rape have been used to frighten and debase the opposite side. This conversation is long overdue and the fact that our president admitted to accosting women on tape and nothing was said or done about his character to become the leader of our country, says that it has not been important to those in power, or the people who voted for him. When millions of women and men marched on January 21, (myself as well), it seemed that they had expressed their displeasure at who would be the occupant of the white house. Mr. [Roy] Moore is the ultimate example of someone who should not have ANY seat of power, since it is saying that it is OK to be morally corrupt and make rulings about other people’s lives. The fact that he has never paid a price for his actions is disgusting. It is the job of Congress and every employer to insure safety in the halls of government, and places of employment, so that those who hold the strings to each job are not abusing that power to be a boss.
Nancy Sanders, St. Augustine
I think that this is a classic case of “the chickens coming home to roost.” The people of today are not willing to go along with the “Clinton Rule”any longer. The rule being that the allegations brought to light concerning Clinton were all lies told by women that had no credibility and perhaps an axe to grind. These recent allegations need to be investigated and, if found to be true beyond any reasonable doubt, they need to be acted upon in a court of law. I do not think that employers are doing enough to help with this form of harassment. A good example of this concerns the U.S. military. It’s all about power and control and it has to stop.
Tom Sellers, Jacksonville
Beginning to wonder … with all the sexual harassment going around I began to wonder could my high school girlfriend come back and say I harassed her when I gave her a kiss? Or my wife the first time we messed around? How come we never hear a guy claim sexual harassment when the women comes on to him? Isn’t there supposed to be equality? What about a statute of limitation for claims of misconduct, 7 years? Of course, in the case of a minor, I would allow claims at least ‘til they are 18. Are people really so dumb as not to know why going to a hotel room with someone includes something other than a discussion that can be held in the lobby??? Just wondering, mind you, nothing political here. Don’t get me wrong … there are certainly cases where people should be held accountable, but where can I find answers on these issues? Maybe office parties should be refereed this holiday season.
B.A. Foerster, Westside
Slippery slope … many factors get injected into an allegation as we have seen and heard over the last several weeks. What should constitute such serious results as career destruction and personal ruin? Abuse is a serious matter and should not be tolerated by either side. It can also be used as a weapon. Tread carefully.and never forget where we live. Innocent ‘til proven guilty. Bosses may think twice about hiring. I repeat … slippery slope.
Joe Kennedy, Southside
The Republican candidate for Alabama’s Senate seat has accusations leveled against him by women who claim that he molested them when they were teenagers almost 40 years ago. Something’s fishy here. Why have they all waited almost 40 years to tell their story? What a coincidence that they all chose to tell their story at the same time. Somebody is orchestrating this from behind the scenes. What was the impetus that this comes out at this critical time with the election upon us and little time to refute the charges? The Democrats were quick to condemn Roy Moore and call for him to drop out of the Alabama Senate race and if he were elected to kick him out of the Senate. Here we have the law of unintended consequences. Two Democratic senators are now resigning under fire for their own sexual improprieties, with the possibility that more will be added to the list. Another old saying is appropriate here, “Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Because of this notoriety, other women are coming forward. Some women have legitimate complaints, while others look for the notoriety and victimhood. Many didn’t want to lose a good job in a poor economic environment, while others want to collect hush money, in some cases at taxpayer expense. Sexual harassment by either sex is unacceptable and, while men may make overt sexual advances, they are in many cases encouraged to do so by the conscious or unconscious appearance of a women who is inappropriately attired for an office environment. Office dress codes must be clearly specified as being very modest in appearance so as not to indicate any hint of sexuality. On the TV series “Star Trek,” the men and women wore essentially the same uniform. A procedure similar to that should be instituted to neutralize as much as possible. In this manner, there will be no hostile work environments against either sex. An unfortunate side effect is that companies are cancelling Christmas parties because they could be liable for the improper sexual conduct that might result from mingling in a festive manner.
Alan Pease, Mandarin
How is it that all these men are CONVICTED immediately based on unproven statements and without due process????? Every one of them is likely true, but the accused are being convicted in the media without any legal basis. How about the men who have been sexually harassed? Would they be believed? Employers should suspend the accused only if criminal charges are appropriately filed. The accused should not be terminated until and unless they are convicted under the rules of law.
Glenn Beaupre, Fruit Cove