blueollie

Sexual Harassment allegations, training and effectiveness…

Yes, sexual harassment has been in the news (sometimes to the exclusion of the truly dreadful GOP tax bills that the Republicans are trying to push through)

Of course, I was dismayed to see the allegation against Al Franken. But then came another of a different type:

On the heels of Tweeden’s disturbing allegations, however, another woman came forward claiming that she too had been “stalked and harassed” by Franken. Melanie Morgan teased her accusation with a Tweet, and then directed curious readers to her website. On her website, she described how Franken called her more than once because he disagreed with how she was discussing a policy issue on the radio.

Even giving Morgan the extremely generous benefit of the doubt, it’s hard to pretend what she alleges Franken did is the same thing as what Tweeden’s picture shows Franken actually doing. Nor is what Tweeden’s picture shows, horrible as it is, the same as what somebody like Roger Ailes or Bill Clinton did.

Which gets to a problem. Right now, the court of public opinion is faced with the awkward task of assigning degrees of severity to sexual misconduct, because, while they all cause harm, they don’t all cause the same amount of harm and thus don’t merit the same punishment. Furthermore, punishment varies by the power the offender wields. A senator, for example, should have a much higher moral threshold than, say, a comedian. Writing in The New Yorker this week, Masha Gessen treads lightly in making this point, warning that the #MeToo moment could devolve into “sex panic” if we’re not careful. “The distinctions between rape and coercion are meaningful, in the way it is meaningful to distinguish between, say, murder and battery,” Gessen writes.

One’s political ideology or past advocacy doesn’t mean it’s impossible for a person to be victimized by somebody with opposing ideology. But if what she’s written is all she’s got, Morgan’s account reeks of naked political opportunism, of weaponizing victimhood in a way that is so morally bankrupt that it threatens to derail the entire #MeToo conversation for selfish political ends.

I’ve seen a case of this when I was at the University of Texas. The two people involved did not dispute the facts: a tenured faculty member called a non-tenured faculty member to complain about a professional matter. Sex was never brought up; the sole charge of “sexual harassment” was that the tenured person was male and the non-tenured one was female…and the call was at night.

Now, unless the tenured person made a habit of hassling female members, this was not sexual harassment; if anything, it was simple douchebaggery. Not all bad behavior between men with more power/status against females with lesser power/status is sexual harassment.

So what about things like genuine groping? (I say “genuine” because the Franken photo, while disgusting, didn’t involve actual groping. She was wearing a heavy flak vest.)

I’ve seen it a few times; one time in the Navy (woman claimed that a senior enlisted goosed her while he walked past) and one time I saw an academic tickle the butt of a female in his rock and roll band as she walked by…he was married to someone else but I didn’t know their respective status (were they friends? were they “that type” of friends?).

But I know it happens and it is wrong (if not consensual). And yes, it seems sad that we need to, as a society, condemn it to reduce it. But how?

I know that standard anti-sexual harassment training is ineffective; in fact, it might well make things WORSE. I have some guesses as to why.

But as far as why men have some urge that needs to be resisted: some of the popular ideas are, in my opinion, dumb. It isn’t anything to do with “sin” or, even worse, women being “sinful” by nature. And no, I doubt it is the result of women being “sexualized” by culture. Instead, I think the urge comes from simple evolutionary pressures to mate. Men aren’t evil for “wanting to”; it just acting on the urge that is the evil. Seriously, I think some of the pressure is taken off when we just admit this “hey, you might want to, and I don’t blame you, but you don’t get to.”. I honestly think some scientific thinking about the matter helps.

Workout notes: 10K walk yesterday. Today: weights; highlights is that pull ups were easier, 10 x 135, 5 x 185 (empty gym), 10 x 170, military: couldn’t get thick dumbbells, but still 10 x 50, 2 sets of 10 x 45, also goblet squats (2 sets of 10 x 45, 10 x 50, 10 x 60 to the sill), rows (machine), etc.

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November 18, 2017 Posted by | social/political, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment