In a post-Weinstein America, it is amazing the speed at which prominent and powerful men are falling to accusations of abuse, harassment and other misogynistic behaviors. But, it is not only the men that will fall.
This recent story about Andrea Ramsey actually caused me to pause and remember a situation that occurred to me back in 2001. It forced me to think about a time when I was harassed by a superior, who by the way was a woman. It did not move me to report or retaliate or even open up any more than I did above. Which is exactly my point: inappropriate behavior is, well, inappropriate, no matter which gender, race or age the offender. What inspired me to blog was the realization that I would not take my claim any further than I already have. The reminder came when I recently received word that the individual was retiring after a long and illustrious career. I never felt physically threatened, but I did worry that my repeated brush offs would result in professional consequences.
Thankfully I was able to move on without any ramifications to my reputation or professional aspirations. Which I suppose is the REAL point here. Women don’t have that luxury. If and when they report, their reputations, qualifications and motives are always questioned. Women will always have to validate, source and otherwise prove their accusations. I am in no way advocating that men should be deemed guilty simply by accusation, although that is what it seems to be at this juncture. But, after eons of women having to accept as ‘normal’ this boorish, disrespectful and often violent behavior, the pendulum has to swing back.
One other thought…although with less frequency and in most cases less effect, women can also be the abuser, the harasser, the perpetrator. It is no less traumatizing to the victim be they female or male. The issue is power and influence. As such, it needs to be called out whether the perpetrator is male, female, Black, White, young or old. The entire system needs an overhaul.