Sexual harassment

I find it amazing how the television news media only gets serious about a problem when it happens to celebrities. Sexual harassment has gone on for hundreds of years. There are so many sides to the issue, I suppose it has been easier to cover it up than deal with it.

Women are afraid to punch their boss in the nose for making inappropriate comments or physical advances toward them. They always have been. Oftentimes they are afraid they can’t find another job, or will just have to face the same situation in another place.

Over my lifetime, I’ve developed an attitude through personal experiences that it is in the nature of non-Christian men to try and see what they can get away with. And it should be in the nature of women to draw the line and say “NO!” I’ve never had a problem letting men know that I mean what I say.

I remember telling one man that if he ever said anything inappropriate to me again, I would go straight to his wife. He questioned whether I would or not. Trust me, I would have.

Usually, when a gentleman is trying to be friendlier or more interested than he has a right to be, I start asking about their wife and children. I finish the conversation by telling them they have been so blessed to have such a beautiful family and I will pray for them. End of story.

Why don’t we teach our girls from childhood up, to say, “NO!” and expect to be respected as a human being and a woman with the right to be left alone?

I can’t help questioning the integrity of women who go alone to a celebrity’s hotel room, let things get out of hand instead of not going in the first place, then cry “Foul!” when the man interprets their presence as a willingness to engage in whatever he has in mind.

Come on ladies. We are smarter than that.

At the same time, I do believe there are predators (both male and female) who are a danger to males and females. It is not just a man taking advantage of a vulnerable woman issue any more. Men are at risk from women, as well. Men are at risk from men. Women are at risk from women.

If every person in this country stepped forward to rat out all the people who have ever said or behaved inappropriately to them, it’s hard to guess what percentage of our population has been affected at one time or the other. I tend to believe that by a certain age, everyone has been approached at least once with an inappropriate, and unsolicited encounter.

Before I paint the wrong picture completely, I do believe that starlets, celebrity hopefuls, and regular employees are victims of unwanted sexual attention. I do believe that some of those encounters end up with one person’s will being forced on another.

Why wait decades to expose another person’s guilt? Why keep your mouth shut, knowing that an individual who “gets away with it” will continue preying on others through the years?

Celebrities hide it. Families hide it. Church people hide it. It is easier to not talk about it or air dirty laundry in public, I suppose. There is so much guilt and shame attached to the person who has been assaulted, they just try to push it down in their memories and get past it to carry on with their normal life.

If we want to make a change in our society in the attitudes about what is normal or what a person should do if they are sexually harassed or abused, we need to start with our children – both male and female. We need to teach them how to say, “NO!” and mean it.

On the other side, we need to teach our children to be accountable for their own behavior, and teach them to respect others.

Reach Judith Victoria Hensley at judith99@bellsouth.net or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.