Every day it seems that we are hearing another accusation, another denial or apology. Is sexual harassment on the rise? I think not. I think it’s always been there and people have become accustomed to it. People have learned to look the other way or excuse it. Victims have been taught to doubt their own sense of right and wrong and somehow it has become “one of those things you just have to put up with if you want to get ahead.”
No more. There are many changes taking place in our society. Some are more positive that others, but change is necessary. Change is unavoidable. And the beginning of change is awareness. (Principle 2 in Zentivity™) And one good thing happening right now is that sexual harassment and abuse are coming out it the open. It may not be comfortable but then change rarely is. The truth is some people always take advantage of a social crisis like this and we find that some good people will be falsely accused to fulfill someone else’s agenda. It will be (and is being) politicized for political gain. That should not stop each of us from making changes that may be necessary to make.
We as employers and leaders in the world are not going to change the world by attempting the futile task of changing others. However this is a time to stop and pause, asking that ever important question, “What can I do about it?”
Ask yourself the questions, “Have I become part of the problem?” “Have I been one to justify bad behavior or excuse it away?” “Have I, in any way bullied or intimidated someone of the opposite sex?” “Have I taken liberties with my actions or words, showing disrespect of someone else?”
Sexual harassment is just bullying under a different heading. Has it ever been ok to bully anyone for any reason? No. Never. Not even a little. Have we all done it in some way or at some time in our lives? Quite likely. So there is no reason to point to any one group of people and bash them for poor behavior or lump them into a category that deserves to be bullied back. This is what our society does. We find a target to bash and blame and that group becomes the pariah of the moment, solving nothing except perpetuating the cycle of pathology. In this kind of environment, no solutions are found and chaos is continually stirred up.
Lets be problem solvers instead of stirrers of the muck. What can you do?
- If you have ever bullied or harassed anyone, and if it is your power to do so, ask forgiveness.
- Commit to respect yourself and others equally, as we are all connected.
- Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated by anyone. A bully is a scared kid who never learned appropriate social skills. They are often shut down by someone who stands up to them.
- If you see harassment or bullying happening, stand up against it. Refuse to let it be ok. Create a better “status quo.”
- If you are an employer or somehow in a position to do this, offer training in social skills and emotional management. Make it clear that in your workplace there is no place for this.
- Determine to find crude humor “not funny.”
- Sexual harassment is insidiously intertwined in our culture. Strengthen your awareness about your own actions and reactions that may in some way support it.
If you genuinely practice all 10 principles of Zentivity™, there is no place for harassment or bullying of any type in your life or in your world.
Leave your observations below of ways you have seen or experienced harassment in ways that may not be so obvious as some that we’ve heard on the news, along with suggestion of how to deal wi