Is Sexual Harassment Inevitable? We Asked, You Answered

Is Sexual Harassment Inevitable? We Asked, You Answered

Why you should care

Because this goes way beyond Harvey Weinstein.

Welcome to Third Rail With OZY, a new TV show presented by OZY and WGBH, where we debate provocative hot topics with experts and celebrities every Friday night. The subject of last week’s show was “Is Sexual Harassment Inevitable?” You answered, and here are your thoughts, edited for clarity. Check back later this week for the question we’ll be debating this Friday on PBS at 8:30 p.m. EST.

Missed the episode? Catch up here!

David Weihe

Is murder inevitable? Theft? Fraud? Well, the ugly truth is: yes, as long as humans are humans. Especially powerful humans (in some circles). And it isn’t just slimy men.

Safiya Songhai

The only way to change sexual harassment is to have clear training, appropriate consequences for those who transgress and to have men check other men who are speaking about women inappropriately. Most men are not predators or misogynists, but one powerful man who is can set the tone for an entire company that such behavior is the culture.

Third Rail With OZY Guest, Zerlina Maxwell

Margaret Cooper

A man on the street saying “you look good” should not be labeled harassment or put in the category of the Harvey Weinsteins and Bill Cosbys of the world. This kind of thinking is not helpful.

Eva Dilanni-Miller

Men need to control themselves; it’s not up to women to wear something, or act in any specific way.

Pat Aiken O’Neill

YES, our society is sexualized, and “acting out” by men has been tolerated and accepted. In the past this behavior by boys or men has been excused: “Boys will be boys”; (it’s only) “locker room talk.” But as an older woman who accepts positive personal observations as compliments, it doesn’t denigrate me (no one defines me but me). Society needs to come to a consensus on clear do’s and don’ts, as I don’t think many of us understand what is and isn’t “all right.” We need to educate all of us!

Doris Bezio

What if a woman compliments a man on his shirt or suit? I think compliments, if sincere and tactful, can create good feelings and even make a situation more relaxed. Harassment is wrong, but we should be able to recognize the difference.

Lee Heintschel, Hunysville, Alabama

Let me get this straight. If a female makes a nice comment to another female about her outfit, dress, hair, nails, shoes, etc., it is considered a compliment; however, if a male makes the same exact nice comment to a female, it is considered harassment? Seems like a double standard. One human being should be able to make nice comments to another human being regardless of gender.

Third Rail With OZY Guest, Tomi-Ann Roberts

Scotch N. Bailey, Brentwood, Tennessee

Happened to me once. No contact, but it was obvious and quite uncomfortable. I quickly excused myself, left the office and told my boss I would be gone for the rest of the day. Fortunately, although the perpetrator denied it, my boss did the right thing addressing the situation right away with the person. I sincerely wish no one has to experience this, but wish people with power were more like my boss at the time. The way he handled it made me comfortable to go back to work the next day.

Amy Templeman, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada

Fiona Cortland, Massachusetts

Third Rail With OZY Guest, Inez Feltscher

Shauna Harris

I’m not a Pence supporter, but I do think that is a wise habit. He is married, and to avoid misunderstandings and possible setups, he is smart and respectful to protect himself. Not sexism — more men should be that way.

Mark F. Walker

He won’t be alone with a woman because maybe he’ll get accused of something?! Well, what if he was with a gay man, and the gay man accused him of something? Does it depend on the woman? Would he have dinner with Condoleezza Rice? Queen Elizabeth? How about Nikki Haley?

Robert Harkins

Mike Pence can dine with whomever he sees fit. Why should he have to risk his reputation so some woman can falsely accuse him? I don’t see why men don’t stay away from women from the workplace altogether. My friend wears a body cam whenever dealing with a woman in his job environment.

Rose Marie Mills, Pinehurst, Idaho

It’s sad and pathetic that he is not more trustworthy than that, that he can’t be trusted at a dinner without his wife to babysit him. If I couldn’t trust my significant other any farther than that, I wouldn’t have a significant other.

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