Friday, 3 November 2017
# me too
It is well past time for a collective ‘mea culpa’ among men. The Harvey Weinstein’s among us have existed for as long as I have been in the workforce and I am an early baby boomer.
I have never done what he has done (let’s drop the ‘alleged’ shall we) but I have seen or heard of this type of behavior. It may not have been as pervasive or persistent as Weinstein’s but this is not a time to split hairs and suggest that there are degrees of harassment because that implies that some may not be so bad.
The collective mea culpa is necessary because even though most men are not predators and have not participated in sexual harassment activities, most of us have not stepped forward to condemn and shame those who have. We may have had the water cooler conversation about someone’s behavior but it ended there. No confrontation; no report to HR; no consolation and support of the victim. We shake our heads and then hide them in the sand never fully grasping the full impact of these cowardly activities.
In my career I have called some to account. To my surprise, it revealed a serial type of behavior. What I witnessed was only the tip of the iceberg. It seems that leopards really don’t change their spots; they just move on to the next target.
I am not in the formal workplace now but I still have eyes and ears. I also have a wife, daughters, a sister and sisters-in-law, nieces, etc. I know how I would react if I knew that any of them had been harassed or were being harassed… and the picture is not pretty.
The fact that we men may not have any personal connection to the victim does not preclude our requirement to step up whenever and wherever we are witness to these incidents. If we don’t know all the circumstances, err on the side that asks for forgiveness and not permission to confront a predator. It may be uncomfortable, but I suspect that these cowards are more likely to retreat than attack.
Our silence condones. In these circumstances, we all must LEAD!!!