Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

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The Great Hippo
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:03 am UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:And the reason that's unacceptable is due to the power imbalance, correct?
Nope. It's unacceptable because there's a strong likelihood that if you do it, you'll be engaging in some form of sexual assault or abuse.

The more power you have over someone, the harder it becomes to determine whether or not they are wholly and happily consenting to whatever it is you're doing to them. The power imbalance between an employee and an employer is overwhelmingly in favor of the employer -- at least in America. This makes determination of consent very hard -- which, in turn, is what makes it such an extraordinarily bad idea for employers to make sexual advances toward their employees.

This power imbalance becomes less of a problem in situations where consent is easier to determine. That's why the marriage example works: Two people who have a pre-established sexual relationship can determine consent much more readily than two people who don't.

In short, what makes these sort of advances wrong isn't that there's a power-imbalance; it's that this power-imbalance makes it much harder for the initiating party to know whether or not this is consensual.

EDIT: Well, this, and the fact that I legitimately doubt people like Weinstein actually give a flying fuck about consent.
arbiteroftruth wrote:A: Sexual advances toward someone over whom you have power is almost always unacceptable.

B: There's almost always a certain amount of power imbalance between people. I think we need a more nuanced standard of behavior.

A: We're not talking about attempts at responsible advances; we're talking about groping, and you're terrible for not realizing that.

C: Wait, you totally were talking about the power imbalance and not the nature of the advances.

A: That's not accurate. What I was actually saying was that sexual advances toward someone over whom you have power are almost always unacceptable.

C: Is...is that not what I said you were saying?
So, okay. Somewhere between Step 2 and Step 3, you abandoned any notion of actually breaking down the discussion and decided to misrepresent my position with the textual equivalent of a whiny, squeaky, mocking voice. I guess your username is meant ironically?

Anyway, this -- along with your inability to tell the difference between "Here's a good starting point" versus "Here's an immutable axiom we must all follow" -- indicates to me that reading comprehension is not your strong suit, and further discussion with you would likely not be very productive.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby arbiteroftruth » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:25 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:In short, what makes these sort of advances wrong isn't that there's a power-imbalance; it's that this power-imbalance makes it much harder for the initiating party to know whether or not this is consensual.


So the problem isn't the power imbalance, the problem is that the power imbalance creates a problem. Forgive me if that strikes me as a pedantic distinction.

The Great Hippo wrote:So, okay. Somewhere between B and C, you abandoned any notion of actually breaking down the discussion and decided to misrepresent my position with the textual equivalent of a whiny, squeaky, mocking voice. I guess your username is meant ironically?


That bit between B and C was very nearly a direct quote. Here's the actual direct quote it's based on.

The Great Hippo wrote:The problem isn't that employers don't know how to ask their employees out on dates in an appropriate manner. The problem is employers think it's okay to grope, kiss, and sexually assault their employees. I mean for fuck's sake -- Weinstein was *married* when this shit was going down. What, you think he wanted to initiate a healthy relationship with these people? No, he wanted to *fuck* them.

Yes, it's possible to have a healthy, consenting relationship in the context of a severe power imbalance. It's hard, but it's possible. That's not what we're talking about. And the more you act like it is, the more tone-deaf you come off as.


Moving on:

The Great Hippo wrote:Anyway, this -- along with your inability to tell the difference between "Here's a good starting point" versus "Here's an immutable axiom we must all follow" -- indicates to me that reading comprehension is not your strong suit, and further discussion with you would likely not be very productive.


I can tell the difference; it's just not relevant to my point. My point being that you've mischaracterized slinches's stated argument. His stated argument might itself be fairly criticized as mischaracterizing yours in the way you say, but it seems to me that he's ultimately doing exactly what you want: elaborating on that starting point by saying more nuance is necessary.

The underlying point behind pointing that out is this: you are essentially on the same side of the issue, and giving people the benefit of the doubt regarding their motives (in the context of an internet discussion) is more productive than the alternative.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:36 am UTC

arbiteroftruth wrote:So the problem isn't the power imbalance, the problem is that the power imbalance creates a problem. Forgive me if that strikes me as a pedantic distinction.
The problem is people are getting sexually harassed and sexually assaulted. They are getting sexually harassed and sexually assaulted because there's a power imbalance.

Seriously, how the fuck is this hard?
arbiteroftruth wrote:That bit between B and C was very nearly a direct quote. Here's the actual direct quote it's based on.

The Great Hippo wrote:The problem isn't that employers don't know how to ask their employees out on dates in an appropriate manner. The problem is employers think it's okay to grope, kiss, and sexually assault their employees. I mean for fuck's sake -- Weinstein was *married* when this shit was going down. What, you think he wanted to initiate a healthy relationship with these people? No, he wanted to *fuck* them.

Yes, it's possible to have a healthy, consenting relationship in the context of a severe power imbalance. It's hard, but it's possible. That's not what we're talking about. And the more you act like it is, the more tone-deaf you come off as.
Being 'tone-deaf' is not the same as being 'terrible'. It's not even in the same ball-park. Do you understand what words mean?
arbiteroftruth wrote:I can tell the difference; it's just not relevant to my point. My point being that you've mischaracterized slinches's stated argument. His stated argument might itself be fairly criticized as mischaracterizing yours in the way you say, but it seems to me that he's ultimately doing exactly what you want: elaborating on that starting point by saying more nuance is necessary.

The underlying point behind pointing that out is this: you are essentially on the same side of the issue, and giving people the benefit of the doubt regarding their motives (in the context of an internet discussion) is more productive than the alternative.
My point is that slinches is talking about nuance regarding attaining the consent of your employees to engage in sexual relationships in a thread about employers who clearly just want to fuck their employees, consenting or not.

Like, what; did you both fail to read the thread's title? Did you mean to post in the "Responsible Relationships Between Employees And Their Employers" thread? Because this is not that thread. This is the thread about the recent wave of revelations regarding how employers have been sexually harassing and sexually assaulting their employees with no concern regarding their consent whatsoever.

So, yes: I called an attempt to use a thread about sexual harassment to discuss how to have sex with your employees 'responsibly' (IE, without raping them) 'tone-deaf'. But maybe you're right: Maybe 'terrible' is the word I should have used.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby arbiteroftruth » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:51 am UTC

You seem to be objecting to natural features of how conversations work. ie.

"Let's discuss (problem)."

"I think (cause) might be one of the key components of (problem)."

(people begin discussing (cause) under the premise that it underlies (problem))

"What if we tried (solution)?"

"I think (solution) would have negative consequences on (related aspect of society). So it might not be a real solution without more refinement."

"We're not talking about (cause) or (related aspect of society), we're talking about (problem)!"

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:59 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
arbiteroftruth wrote:And the reason that's unacceptable is due to the power imbalance, correct?

[...] it's that this power-imbalance makes it much harder for the initiating party to know whether or not this is consensual.

So "yes" then, because of the reasons (that I snipped) that you just explained.


ETA: arbiter's outline above nails it IMO. Here, let me fill in the blanks of it:

"Let's discuss sexual harassment."

"I think power imbalances might be one of the key components of sexual harassment."

(people begin discussing power imbalances under the premise that it underlies sexual harassment)

"What if we tried outlawing sexual relationships where there are power imbalances?"

"I think outlawing sexual relationships where there are power imbalances would have negative consequences on the prospects of legitimately consensual relationships where there are power imbalances. So it might not be a real solution without more refinement."

"We're not talking about power imbalances or the prospects of legitimately consensual relationships where there are power imbalances, we're talking about sexual harassment!"
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:10 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:"I think outlawing sexual relationships where there are power imbalances would have negative consequences on the prospects of legitimately consensual relationships where there are power imbalances. So it might not be a real solution without more refinement."

"We're not talking about power imbalances or the prospects of legitimately consensual relationships where there are power imbalances, we're talking about sexual harassment!"
I'm going to try and be super-polite and just presume you haven't actually read the discussion we're having (particularly since I haven't said a goddamn thing about outlawing anything, nevermind relationships with power imbalances).
arbiteroftruth wrote:You seem to be objecting to natural features of how conversations work. ie.

"Let's discuss (problem)."

"I think (cause) might be one of the key components of (problem)."

(people begin discussing (cause) under the premise that it underlies (problem))

"What if we tried (solution)?"

"I think (solution) would have negative consequences on (related aspect of society). So it might not be a real solution without more refinement."

"We're not talking about (cause) or (related aspect of society), we're talking about (problem)!"
"Hey, Hippo, people with baseball bats keep attacking me and stealing my money. What do you think I should do? Should I bring a bat with me, too? Or maybe we should take away their bats? Maybe we need stronger anti-bat laws?"

"Well, there's a lot of people out there who want your money, and -- under certain circumstances -- you might even be willing to give it to them. Have you considered all those scenarios, and how they might apply here? Maybe the solution is to devise a nuanced economic system that allows us to navigate consensual exchanges of funds."

"What? No. This isn't about that. This is about people with baseball bats who want to beat me up and take my money. They're going to take it regardless of whether or not I want them to have it. They don't give a fuck about economics; they just want my money."

"Right, but there's a lot of complicated nuance to how money changes hands; maybe we should talk about that. I mean, economics is really complex, and I think we might be able to figure something out to help you with this."

"What the fuck are you talking about? This isn't complicated, this is just -- OH FUCK HERE THEY COME NOW THEY HAVE CHAINSAWS"

(chainsaw noises)
Last edited by The Great Hippo on Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:20 am UTC

Hippo, the step you're missing in your analogous-paraphrase is where someone proposed banning money as a solution to your bat-people-beating-you-up-for-money problem, in which case bringing up all the legitimate uses of money is relevant. It doesn't solve your bat-people problem, but it rules out one proposed solution to the bat-people problem.

To un-analogize it: the problem is sexual harassment, someone proposed outright banning sexual relations between people with power imbalances between them to solve that problem, but that solution undermines legitimately consensual relations between people with power imbalances, which point isn't a solution to the problem of sexual harassment, but it rules out that particular proposed solution to that problem.

Now we can move on to discussing other proposed solutions instead.

The Great Hippo wrote:I'm going to try and be super-polite and just presume you haven't actually read the discussion we're having (particularly since I haven't said a goddamn thing about outlawing anything, nevermind relationships with power imbalances).

You didn't, CorruptUser did.
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:26 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:Hippo, the step you're missing in your analogous-paraphrase is where someone proposed banning money as a solution to your bat-people-beating-you-up-for-money problem, in which case bringing up all the legitimate uses of money is relevant. It doesn't solve your bat-people problem, but it rules out one proposed solution to the bat-people problem.

To un-analogize it: the problem is sexual harassment, someone proposed outright banning sexual relations between people with power imbalances between them to solve that problem, but that solution undermines legitimately consensual relations between people with power imbalances, which point isn't a solution to the problem of sexual harassment, but it rules out that particular proposed solution to that problem.
At no point have I suggested banning sexual relationships between people with power imbalances. I've even provided at least one example of a sexual relationship with power imbalances that would probably work just fine.

What I was discussing with slinches had nothing to do with banning (or not banning) these sort of relationships; it had to do with the notion of developing gender roles to better facilitate relationships with power imbalances. Which, like economics, is important -- and something we should explore -- but has precious little to do with people with baseball bats who just want your money.
Pfhorrest wrote:You didn't, CorruptUser did.
Right. That's a silly idea. Hence why I didn't even bother addressing it.

CorruptUser's point has nothing to do with anything I've said.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:36 am UTC

Okay, going back over the thread it looks like arbiter mistakenly thought slinches comments were (in part) a response to CorruptUser's proposal. Which seems an easy mistake to make because until rereading more closely just now I didn't realize they were totally unrelated subthreads either. But given that they are unrelated, arbiter's paraphrase/summary of the conversation so far is inaccurate, so I withdraw my defense/elaboration of it.

FWIW I think slinches' proposal (for degendered "gender roles") is pretty beside the point (and otherwise unnecessary) anyway.
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:48 am UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:FWIW I think slinches' proposal (for degendered "gender roles") is pretty beside the point (and otherwise unnecessary) anyway.
Right. That's what I've been saying.

Talking about gender roles and how we can use them to better navigate power imbalances -- and engage in consensual sex -- is a great conversation to have, but not in the context of a thread about sexual harassment. Sexual harassment isn't about navigating power imbalances; it's about abusing them. Bringing it up here is, at best, tone-deaf -- and, at worst, a derail.

It's basically saying, "Look, I know we're here to discuss how all these people want to fuck their employees regardless of whether they consent, but let's stop and have a conversation about how they could fuck them with their consent".

Or: "Look, I know we're here to discuss how people keep mugging you, but let's stop and have a conversation about under what context you might give them your money".

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby arbiteroftruth » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:00 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:At no point have I suggested banning sexual relationships between people with power imbalances. I've even provided at least one example of a sexual relationship with power imbalances that would probably work just fine.


Banning, no. But you have taken an absolute moral stance against ever initiating a sexual relationship where such an imbalance exists. In response to slinches's bit about gender roles, you said:

What the fuck are you smoking? You shouldn't make sexual advances on people who work for you. That's the problem we're discussing here.


Whereupon slinches took up the position that that cultural norm would be overly absolute:

It is more complicated than you're claiming. There are always power imbalances to some degree and saying any relationship where those exist is wrong is just as unrealistic as asking people to abstain from sex instead of using contraception. We need to provide a safe way for people to show interest and establish healthy romantic relationships regardless of power imbalances.


There's a misunderstanding that entered at that point, between "relationships where power imbalances exist" and "sexual advances where power imbalances exist", but I take slinches's post as applying to the initiation of a relationship as well as pre-existing relationships, saying that taking a hard stance against any advances in such a situation is unrealistic and unreasonable.

The (solution) in my analogy is not the proposal to ban advances in imbalanced situations, but the suggestion of taking a hardline moral/cultural opposition to all such advances.

Edit: And if it's not clear, slinches's bit about the decline of traditional gender roles lives alongside power imbalances as part of (cause) in the analogy.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby sardia » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:30 am UTC

This thread is moving fast, so let's get back on track.
https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way ... l-behavior
Matt Lauer of NBC is now fired after only a single alleged complaint.
Convyers signals he won't resign unless forced.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/22/politics/ ... index.html

Grrr, I was hoping Convyers would see the writing on the wall and get out, but I guess he's addicted to the lifestyle.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby slinches » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:57 am UTC

The Great Hippo wrote:
Talking about gender roles and how we can use them to better navigate power imbalances -- and engage in consensual sex -- is a great conversation to have, but not in the context of a thread about sexual harassment. Sexual harassment isn't about navigating power imbalances; it's about abusing them. Bringing it up here is, at best, tone-deaf -- and, at worst, a derail.

It's a derail in a thread about sexual harassment to talk about how to prevent yourself and others from sexually harassing people? Um ... Okay?

By the way, the part you missed, Hippo, is that all relationships have some level of power imbalance. Likely of various types and quantities, of which employment is only one type. And I brought up unintentional harassment because talking about people who abuse power imbalances intentionally is pointless. That's bad. We all know it's bad. Stop it when you see it. What else is there to talk about?

Maybe I'll go start a thread on the related topic of preventing unintentional harassment by recognizing when power imbalance becomes significant enough to become a problem and what to do if you find yourself in that sort of situation. Since that's a topic I think we all might actually get some benefit from beyond a cathartic gripe-session.

I guess there's no room for that here, though. Sorry, my bad.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby The Great Hippo » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:33 am UTC

Okay, since there seems to be a lot of confusion about slinches' stance, I'll help clarify it:
The Great Hippo wrote:Giving those people [employees] some measure of power to use against you [employers] if you do [make sexual advances against employees] seems like an even better place to advance forward.
slinches wrote:And giving people with less power a different power doesn't balance the scales, it just raises the stakes.
In other words: We shouldn't give people who are being sexually harassed the means to legally address this sexual harassment, because that just 'raises the stakes'. We should -- in their own words -- just 'stop it when you see it'.
slinches wrote: And I brought up unintentional harassment because talking about people who abuse power imbalances intentionally is pointless. That's bad. We all know it's bad. Stop it when you see it. What else is there to talk about?
What sort of legal recourse should victims of sexual harassment have? Why do we have such a hard time believing them -- why is it suddenly now that all these allegations are being treated seriously? How can we create an environment that's proactive in the prevention of sexual harassment? Is this a systemic problem or something localized to just one industry (it's the former, but some people don't seem to realize that)? How do we handle things like retributive action taken against those who report sexual harassment?

That's just right off the top of my head. The fact that you think there's nothing to talk about in regards to intentional sexual harassment -- beyond "We should stop it when we see it" -- is indicative that you are in no way prepared to have any sort of mature or responsible discussion in regards to sexual harassment.

The fact that you think the real discussion should be focused on some sort of poorly defined 'unintentional' sexual harassment -- a dialogue about all these imaginary fuckers who are accidentally sexually harassing and assaulting women -- only further clarifies you are well out of your goddamn depth.

In case you're not getting the message, let me make it clear as I can: I am saying that until you understand that the problem is not a bunch of 'well-intentioned folks' who are 'accidentally tripping and falling' into the 'sexual harassment hole' somehow created by 'changing social norms', you are part of the problem. This is the same bullshit Weinstein tried to sell us on when he got caught: "Look, things have changed since the seventies! I'm just slow to adapt! I'm still learning!" Yeah, I'm not buying it. He knew what the fuck he was doing. He just didn't give a flying fuck: He put his dick above the lives, minds, and bodies of the women around him.

And Weinstein? Just the tip of the iceberg. This shit is going on everywhere, all the time -- and I have zero patience for anyone who's running interference over it. Intentional or otherwise.
slinches wrote:Maybe I'll go start a thread on the related topic of preventing unintentional harassment by recognizing when power imbalance becomes significant enough to become a problem and what to do if you find yourself in that sort of situation. Since that's a topic I think we all might actually get some benefit from beyond a cathartic gripe-session.
Let someone else do it. You clearly aren't capable.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Ginger » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:48 am UTC

Sexual harassment has always been a big problem for women. I have experienced various forms of inappropriate sexual behavior in interpersonal relationships, some where I was young and inexperienced and that constituted a power imbalance. The problem I see here is that a lot of people's sexuality seems to include a button for "sexy power imbalances" or a "natural place of the dominant and submissive in a relationship versus their sexual wants and needs." So to some extent I believe people find inappropriate behavior sexy. How do we stop that? We make inappropriate sexual behavior a mixture of illegal and immoral. By empowering victims to believe that they can help themselves and report their harassers. By socially censuring inappropriate sexual advances and in some cases ousting those responsible from our social spheres.

If my employer wanted to date me I'd be a mixture of flattered and shocked. Because we're not talking about a submissive or a dominant anymore we are talking about somebody with power to wreck my life advancing on me and I can't say no or else what if he fires me, badmouths me to other employers or makes my working experience a nightmare? That fear is very real in relationships with heavy power imbalances. And they can often turn abusive when your partner has more voracious sexual needs than you do. Sexual harassers deserve a lot of the flak they get, they deserve to be spoken against and have action taken against them. Only in cases where the victim doesn't feel significantly wronged would I consider not prosecuting and I'm not going to speak any more on that.

So yes: A lot of people have some weird submissive/dominant ideas in their sexuality. And I think that needs to be addressed in a caring but firm way. More education about enthusiastic consent, more punishments if you willfully violate somebody and believing of the victims so that they can seek justice. There will be serious social consequences for being a sexual harasser you can't avoid that. If you're not ready for your circle of friends to explode and distance themselves from you, or you having a bad name in town or you being viewed as a creepy predator by women then please keep your BDSM needs under control. That said I have sympathy for those that simply never experienced significant healthy relationships and their views about sex have been distorted. Sometimes however you've clearly violated somebody's consent and unless they forgive you then, "Your intent ain't magic, baby. You still hurt somebody and need to be punished."
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby ObsessoMom » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:37 am UTC

(Publicly tarring and feathering slinches might be satisfyingly cathartic, Hippo, but I really don't think doing so provides much insight into the issue of sexual harassment.)

The recent sexual harassment epidemic is not new. It's exactly the same epidemic that's been going on for ages. The only difference is that in the past, it has been a problem only for victims, and for no one else, so no one else paid much attention. Now, it has become a problem not only for many high-profile perpetrators, but also for many other men who are not famous, but who belatedly realize that they haven't been paying attention to the female perspective on sexual harassment at all, and who now have cause to worry that some of their past flirtations and dalliances may come back to haunt them.

I'm sure that there are many, many men losing sleep over this. Yes, some of those men are genuine creepers with long patterns of bullying sexual favors out of people over whom they held power. But others are basically decent but misguided men who have simply been operating on the widespread "traditional" assumption that women are, in general, sexually passive (and perhaps paralyzed by puritanical hang-ups), and that the species would die out if men stopped constantly pushing women's boundaries of consent as far as they can get away with.

So it's more than just the pathological predators who are nervous about whether they've missed (or willfully ignored) some signs that their past sexual advances were not particularly welcome. In fact, I think there are very few men who are 100% sure that no one in their past would ever be able to lodge a complaint about their courtship behavior.

THIS IS NOT TO MINIMIZE THE SEVERITY OF THE ACCUSATIONS AGAINST VARIOUS PUBLIC FIGURES. There's a wide spectrum of questionable behavior, but most of the claims that have led to firings, etc., have been unquestionably over the line. Still, there's a lot of anxiety about the questionable stuff, because far more men personally identify with having meted out unsolicited and possibly-unwelcome kissing, hugging, etc., than with having committed outright groping and rape and intimidation of people in their power.

Yes, the questionable stuff muddies the waters when we're discussing the unquestionable crimes. But the questionable stuff needs to be discussed anyway, because so many people care about it, personally. And talking and thinking about where the boundaries are, for future practical reference, is a good thing, no?

That said, I'm honestly not sure what slinches (and others) mean about changes in traditional gender roles contributing to the sexual harassment problem.

Many of the accused have been married men, but it has long been...well, "traditional"...for unfaithful husbands to blame their own infidelity on their wives' failure to meet their emotional and sexual needs. Cheating husbands traditionally think that they are entitled to far more love and attention from their wives than they are getting, whether or not those wives have careers outside the home. But feeling entitled to special favors and exceptions to rules and societal norms (such as monogamy) is also a symptom of narcissism, which afflicts a lot of high-profile people...such as the sexual harassers in the news lately. I'm more inclined to see narcissism as a cause than husbands now being expected to do more housework and childcare at home than previous generations.

Or by traditional gender roles, should I be thinking only of the sort of aggression/passivity stereotypes mentioned above? Even so, I think it's the persistence of such rigid stereotypes about domination and submission, not the breakdown of them, that encourages sexual harassment.

Speaking of traditional gender roles, lately I've also noted the troubling persistence of the old notion that a man's sexual misbehavior is somehow never his own fault. It's his victim's fault for tempting him, or for not giving a clear enough "no," or for not putting an end to his problem behavior by reporting it properly (I've heard that last one a LOT lately); or, as mentioned above, it's his wife's fault for not satisfying him, as is her wifely duty; or else it's feminism's fault for depriving alpha males of the domination opportunities that should be their birthright, so that they have to find other, less appropriate, channels for all that healthy male energy (yeah, give me a break).

Basically, sexual harassment and rape are always the fault of women, somehow.

It's odd how many religious people who claim to be big on personal responsibility still think that women should be held more personally responsible than men, whenever sex is involved.

TL;DR: rather than being caused by a breakdown of traditional roles, I think sexual harassment is a symptom of the persistence of old ideas like the stereotypical expectation that it's "just natural behavior" for women to play hard to get but to secretly want to be conquered, and for men to refuse to give up until they can wear down whatever resistance they meet. Consent becomes damn near irrelevant in such a worldview.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Sableagle » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:17 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:The military is not perfect, either. And chains of command can also be used to cover things up. I'm not sure it's a role model here. If it is, it's only in the sense of having people outside the chain of command to complain to(at least nominally. In practice, it may vary).

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Today, the Department of Defense (DoD) released its Annual Report on Sexual Violence and Harassment at the Military Service Academies. DoD’s findings show that despite repeated assurances by military leadership, they have failed to address the crisis of sexual assault and harassment at service academies. Rather than reducing the rate of sexual assault and rape, the just released report shows that sexual assault rates skyrocketed by 33% since the last survey released. In the 2015-2016 academic year, 12.2% of women in the academies experienced rape or sexual assault, and 48% faced severe and persistent sexual harassment.

The report comes one day after a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the recent “Marines United” photo sharing scandal. And earlier this month the Washington Post broke a story involving the President’s new national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster that showed he violated U.S. Army regulations by allowing two cadets from the West Point Rugby team to attend Ranger School, despite being under criminal investigation for sexual assault.
The report released today indicates that sexual assault rates have dropped from 20,300 in 2014 to 14,900 service members sexually assaulted in 2016. For women, the drop was less significant: 8,600 service women were sexually assaulted in 2016, compared to 9,600 in 2014. Notably, 58% women who reported a sexual assault indicated that they experienced retaliation — virtually unchanged from 2010. Out of more than 4,500 unrestricted reports that were made in 2016, only 124 cases resulted in a conviction for a non consensual sex offense. The drop in prevalence is a step in the right direction, but the military still has a long way to go in ending the epidemic of rape and sexual assault, holding assailants accountable, preventing and punishing retaliation, and eradicating rampant misogyny and harassment within the ranks.

The new report comes out in the midst of the “Marines United” photo sharing scandal, with more than 30 Marines facing punishment for sharing nude photos and making threats against women in a private Facebook group. And earlier this year the Washington Post broke a story involving the President’s new national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster that showed he violated U.S. Army regulations by allowing two cadets from the West Point Rugby team to attend Ranger School, despite being under criminal investigation for sexual assault.
The data shows that overall, black service members were at least 1.29 times and as much as 2.61 times more likely than white service members to have an action taken against them in an average year. The report also found that:

In the Air Force, black airmen on average are 71% more likely to face court-martial or Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP) than white airmen.
In the Marine Corps, black Marines are, on average, 32% more likely to receive a guilty finding at a court-martial or NJP proceeding than white Marines, with the size of the disparity becoming more significant the more serious the disciplinary action was.
In the Navy, black sailors are on average 40% more likely than white sailors to be referred to special or general court-martial.
In the Army, black soldiers are on average 61% more likely to face a special or general court-martial compared to white service members.


How the military handles sexual assault cases behind closed doors

For the U.S. Air Force, the case of alleged sexual harassment and assault by a senior officer was exactly the type of misconduct Pentagon leaders had promised Congress and the public they would no longer tolerate.

The victim at Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base in Alabama reported in September 2015 that her married boss, a colonel, had repeatedly said he wanted to have sex with her, tracked her movements and sent her recordings of him masturbating in the shower, documents show. She said that she told him to back off but that he would not stop: Twice, she alleges, he trapped her in the office, grabbed her arms and forcibly tried to kiss her.

Air Force investigators quickly confirmed much of her account, aided by hundreds of messages that the officer had texted the woman and by his admission that he had sent the masturbation recordings, the documents show.

In their report, the investigators compiled extensive evidence that the colonel, Ronald S. Jobo, had committed abusive sexual contact against the woman, a civilian in her 30s. Under military law, the charge would have automatically resulted in a court-martial, a proceeding open to the public. The crime carried a sentence of up to seven years in prison and a requirement to register as a sex offender.

The decision on what to do next rested with a three-star general 600 miles away at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. In the military-justice system, commanders — not uniformed prosecutors — have the power to dictate how and whether criminal cases should be pursued.

In March 2016, Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, the senior officer in Jobo’s chain of command, decided against charging Jobo with abusive sexual contact, or any crime at all. Instead, Thompson imposed what the military calls non­judicial punishment, or discipline for minor ­offenses.

Jobo was forced to retire and demoted one rank, to lieutenant colonel. Because the military keeps most disciplinary actions secret, the case was hidden from public view.

There would be no trial, no publicity and no public record — the same for thousands of other sexual assault investigations each year in the armed forces.


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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby slinches » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:30 pm UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:
TL;DR: rather than being caused by a breakdown of traditional roles, I think sexual harassment is a symptom of the persistence of old ideas like the stereotypical expectation that it's "just natural behavior" for women to play hard to get but to secretly want to be conquered, and for men to refuse to give up until they can wear down whatever resistance they meet. Consent becomes damn near irrelevant in such a worldview.

I don't disagree with that at all. What I was trying to get at was that while there is a general breakdown of the traditional roles, they aren't completely going away and I dont think that can happen without new roles to set better expectations about how people should act (not just how they should not act). People will cling to what they know (e.g. male = aggressive, female = passive) making the traditional roles persist as long as there's no better alternative available.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Ranbot » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:38 pm UTC

ObsessoMom wrote:The recent sexual harassment epidemic is not new. It's exactly the same epidemic that's been going on for ages.... Now, it has become a problem not only for many high-profile perpetrators, but also for many other men who are not famous, but who belatedly realize that they haven't been paying attention to the female perspective on sexual harassment at all, and who now have cause to worry that some of their past flirtations and dalliances may come back to haunt them....

Yes, some of those men are genuine creepers with long patterns of bullying sexual favors out of people over whom they held power. But others are basically decent but misguided men who have simply been operating on the widespread "traditional" assumption that women are, in general, sexually passive (and perhaps paralyzed by puritanical hang-ups)...

So it's more than just the pathological predators who are nervous about whether they've missed (or willfully ignored) some signs that their past sexual advances were not particularly welcome. In fact, I think there are very few men who are 100% sure that no one in their past would ever be able to lodge a complaint about their courtship behavior...

You make a lot of good points, but I'm pulling the pieces above out to add an extra detail I think is important.... As you point out many men are worried and probably getting defensive that stuff they did in the past could be deemed inappropriate now and face retribution. The troubling thing for many men is that we are retroactively applying today's social morals on actions that occurred many years/decades ago when society's collective morals were very different. There needs to be some sort of acknowledgement of this change in the social tolerance of harassment and what constitutes harassment. There is a slippery slope in retroactively punishing people as social morals change that could set difficult precedents for many topics beyond harassment. That said, I do not think harassers and rapists should be let off the hook. These ugly things society has been willing to sweep under the rug need to be brought into the light, victims need to heal, and punishments need to be doled out sensibly, and preferably not in a reactionary manner... there is a slippery slope of moral relativity we are all forced to tread on here.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby orthogon » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:25 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:As you point out many men are worried and probably getting defensive that stuff they did in the past could be deemed inappropriate now and face retribution. The troubling thing for many men is that we are retroactively applying today's social morals on actions that occurred many years/decades ago when society's collective morals were very different. There needs to be some sort of acknowledgement of this change in the social tolerance of harassment and what constitutes harassment. There is a slippery slope in retroactively punishing people as social morals change that could set difficult precedents for many topics beyond harassment. That said, I do not think harassers and rapists should be let off the hook. These ugly things society has been willing to sweep under the rug need to be brought into the light, victims need to heal, and punishments need to be doled out sensibly, and preferably not in a reactionary manner... there is a slippery slope of moral relativity we are all forced to tread on here.


What makes it even trickier is when people try on this defence when it really doesn't apply. In the UK, the phrase "sexual harassment" started being used in the late '80s, and I suspect it had been around in the US for longer. So when some guy in 2017 says "things were different ten years ago" - perhaps, but not that different. Whereas perhaps we do have to concede that lewd comments and perhaps, in the extreme, a bit of touching was tolerated in the '70s, but even then any kind of forced, non-consenting sexual activity was surely considered thoroughly wrong even then.

I was thinking about the Hollywood connection, as it seems to me that Hollywood itself has a responsibility for a lot of the problematic social attitudes. I'm thinking in particular of the movie trope (roughly this TVTropes trope) where the guy suddenly, without warning, grabs and kisses the girl. For a moment she's stiff and her fists are clenched - we're thinking it's a disaster - she doesn't want this at all - but she gradually relaxes and by the time the cut comes, her hands are passionately caressing his back. Most recently I saw this in the original Bladerunner (in the context, I don't think it's relevant that the woman is a replicant), but I'm pretty sure it's still used. The message is that sometimes you just have to take a risk, and furthermore you shouldn't take an initial resistance as a "no".
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Ranbot » Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:04 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:What makes it even trickier is when people try on this defence when it really doesn't apply. ...Whereas perhaps we do have to concede that lewd comments and perhaps, in the extreme, a bit of touching was tolerated in the '70s, but even then any kind of forced, non-consenting sexual activity was surely considered thoroughly wrong even then.

Agreed. I would fully expect defendants to use this argument, and I think they have every right to. Courts and society will have to figure out where today's morals end and yesterday's begin... it's the slippery slope to walk.

orthogon wrote:I was thinking about the Hollywood connection, as it seems to me that Hollywood itself has a responsibility for a lot of the problematic social attitudes.

Certainly I agree there's a connection, but is Hollywood creating problematic social attitudes, or reflecting problematic social attitudes that already existed? Personally, I think it's more of the latter... people are quite prone to viewing history, even recent history, with rose-tinted glasses.... [edit] and adept at excusing, scapegoating, or ignoring things that don't fit their idealized view of history.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:25 pm UTC

slinches wrote:By the way, the part you missed, Hippo, is that all relationships have some level of power imbalance. Likely of various types and quantities, of which employment is only one type. And I brought up unintentional harassment because talking about people who abuse power imbalances intentionally is pointless. That's bad. We all know it's bad. Stop it when you see it. What else is there to talk about?


There are questions of degrees. If I make more money than someone, do I have more power than them? In some respects, yes. But dating someone who makes somewhat less money is generally accepted as okay. I have more power, but it's not specifically over them.

If I have power directly over them, such a guard/prisoner, teacher/student, or boss/employee, there is significant danger that this power can be used to reduce choice. Leaving aside questions of laws, morally, you should proceed with extreme caution if in such a circumstance. The guard/prisoner thing probably is a straight up "never ought to happen" thing. Boss/employee...well, I could see if the employee initiated it, for instance. But there's a responsibility on the powerful party to be cautious.

Why is the one situation worse than the other? Well, more power. A guard/prisoner relationship is an extreme power differential. Far less so than a team lead and someone on the team. We probably can't remove all power imbalances, of course, but we can pretty clearly delineate what's appropriate and why. We can also put in place practices to make abuses of power more difficult. Guards are frequently subject to procedures to limit misconduct. Perhaps guards are required to interact with prisoners together with another guard. This won't stop problems if both guards are dirty, but it somewhat raises the bar for misconduct.

Oddly enough, Pence's rules are, while a bit quaint/odd, someone similar, provided one views men as guards, and women as prisoners.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby morriswalters » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:35 pm UTC

In Louisville Kentucky, a Facebook post alleging rape by a owner of a small business has caused a minor uproar. He has decided to fight it and has sued the accusers. The accusers aren't speaking to the media, and the business owner is implying that it is a scheme to take his business from him by two of his employees. No police reports of any claims of rape and no signs of any legal actions to this point from the accusers. Here's a link to the story.

I read an article that suggested that some social conservatives are going proactive, cutting or reducing social contacts as a measure of self defense. No solo meetings with members of the opposite sex, no after work socialization, less mentoring and so forth. Uncertainty about the acceptable norms will force people to be defensive. I'm not sure what I think about that.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Bloopy » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:43 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:I was thinking about the Hollywood connection, as it seems to me that Hollywood itself has a responsibility for a lot of the problematic social attitudes. I'm thinking in particular of the movie trope (roughly this TVTropes trope) where the guy suddenly, without warning, grabs and kisses the girl.

I guess it's quite easy to slip into the era of films when watching them. It reminds me of being a kid reading old books set in boarding schools with corporal punishment. Looking at the films listed there, Goldfinger is one I last saw not too long ago, and I only really notice how bad it is after it's been pointed out.

On the other hand, the film Nine Queens which I rewatched yesterday cleverly presents the trope as a clue.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby CorruptUser » Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:54 pm UTC

All this reminds me of the time in high school when a girl accused me of stalking/attempted rape, which were disproven after just a few minutes of looking at actual evidence (e.g. witnesses and security cameras), and the girl not getting into any trouble.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Tyndmyr » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:25 pm UTC

Sableagle wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:The military is not perfect, either. And chains of command can also be used to cover things up. I'm not sure it's a role model here. If it is, it's only in the sense of having people outside the chain of command to complain to(at least nominally. In practice, it may vary).

"Not perfect ... "


A good summary indeed of why I believe the military is not an appropriate model for society to copy here.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:47 pm UTC

I think the only real total long-term solution to this problem, like so many others, is to eliminate the power differentials that enable it. Not all power differentials, which as has been rightly pointed out is impossible, but the kind that are severe enough to constitute coercive force sufficient to induce nonconsensual sexual behavior.

Compare and contrast:

A) I join a social club. The leader of that club makes unwanted sexual advances on me, or tolerates other club members doing so. Depending on my personal limits, some or another amount of that will make me no longer want to be part of that club. And I don't have to be part of that club, so I'll leave once it gets so intolerable. And if the problem is big enough, so will enough people that that club will cease to exist, or else fix the problem to preserve itself.

B) I join a business. The boss of that business makes unwanted sexual advances on me, or tolerates other employees doing so. Depending on my personal limits, some or another amount of that will make me no longer want to be part of that business. But tough shit for me, I need my job. So I can't just leave, even if it's intolerable. And neither can most anyone else, so that toxic culture can continue festering in perpetuity.

As usual, the problem boils down ultimately to an economic one, of most people being forced into subservience to other people for their survival.
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby cphite » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:27 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I think the only real total long-term solution to this problem, like so many others, is to eliminate the power differentials that enable it. Not all power differentials, which as has been rightly pointed out is impossible, but the kind that are severe enough to constitute coercive force sufficient to induce nonconsensual sexual behavior.


In addition to being completely unrealistic, that seems to focus on the wrong problem. There are plenty of cases where power differentials exist, and nobody is harmed; in fact that would appear to be the norm. The problem is not power differentials, the problem is the people who abuse power differentials.

A) I join a social club. The leader of that club makes unwanted sexual advances on me, or tolerates other club members doing so. Depending on my personal limits, some or another amount of that will make me no longer want to be part of that club. And I don't have to be part of that club, so I'll leave once it gets so intolerable. And if the problem is big enough, so will enough people that that club will cease to exist, or else fix the problem to preserve itself.


Or you actually address the problem by revealing it to the other members, thus putting them into a position where they make a decision. That decision might be to ignore the behavior, or tolerate it, or even to refuse to believe you; in which case you can decide that it's not a social club worth associating with. On the other hand, maybe they really didn't know - or chose not to notice - and your coming forward nudges them towards banning that sort of behavior. The point is, the problem isn't the club itself, or even the leader of the club having "power" per their position; the problem is inappropriate behavior and people ignoring or accepting inappropriate behavior.

B) I join a business. The boss of that business makes unwanted sexual advances on me, or tolerates other employees doing so. Depending on my personal limits, some or another amount of that will make me no longer want to be part of that business. But tough shit for me, I need my job. So I can't just leave, even if it's intolerable. And neither can most anyone else, so that toxic culture can continue festering in perpetuity.


This is why it's actually illegal to sexually harass people in the workplace. It's not something that your boss or your company can simply decide to tolerate; it's actually against the law. It's also illegal to take retaliatory action against someone who reports harassment. Again, the problem is not the power differential - the problem is the abuse of the power differential, and the people ignoring or accepting that abuse. Believe it or not, most HR departments take these sorts of accusations very seriously because they know that otherwise they place their company (and in some cases, themselves) in potentially serious legal trouble.

Unfortunately, a lot of people either don't realize they have the law on their side, or aren't willing to risk it, and choose to go along or make the best of things. Don't do that.

As usual, the problem boils down ultimately to an economic one, of most people being forced into subservience to other people for their survival.


Work will always be a thing, and that includes having people in charge who live better than the people not in charge. That isn't likely to change. So it's better to focus on the problem that can be tackled, which is how do we deal with people who abuse the power that they have.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Ranbot » Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:36 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:I think the only real total long-term solution to this problem, like so many others, is to eliminate the power differentials that enable it. Not all power differentials, which as has been rightly pointed out is impossible, but the kind that are severe enough to constitute coercive force sufficient to induce nonconsensual sexual behavior.

Compare and contrast:

A) I join a social club. The leader of that club makes unwanted sexual advances on me, or tolerates other club members doing so. Depending on my personal limits, some or another amount of that will make me no longer want to be part of that club. And I don't have to be part of that club, so I'll leave once it gets so intolerable. And if the problem is big enough, so will enough people that that club will cease to exist, or else fix the problem to preserve itself.

B) I join a business. The boss of that business makes unwanted sexual advances on me, or tolerates other employees doing so. Depending on my personal limits, some or another amount of that will make me no longer want to be part of that business. But tough shit for me, I need my job. So I can't just leave, even if it's intolerable. And neither can most anyone else, so that toxic culture can continue festering in perpetuity.

As usual, the problem boils down ultimately to an economic one, of most people being forced into subservience to other people for their survival.

The employer/employee economic power differential you describe in example B will never be removed unless you achieve an ideal form of communism (impossible). However, you can have laws, enforcement, and [hopefully] societal pressures that will appropriately punish abusers (employers or otherwise) and make them reconsider the choice to abuse before it happens. Maybe that's what you meant, but it wasn't clear to me from your focus on the economics.

EDIT:
cphite wrote:The problem is not power differentials, the problem is the people who abuse power differentials.

^ Yes. It's far easier to deal with the minority of abusers than the system of power differentials.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Pfhorrest » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:15 pm UTC

Ranbot wrote:The employer/employee economic power differential you describe in example B will never be removed unless you achieve an ideal form of communism (impossible).

It's attitudes like that that keep it from being possible.

My point wasn't that other solutions that limit the abusability of power differentials shouldn't be pursued, but just noticing that, hey, this is yet another problem that ultimately boils down to capitalism (or its antecedents, in other eras); to some people being subject to other people, and not free to just walk away from relations or situations that don't suit them. All use of such power is abuse, but sexual harassment is toward the worse end of abuses of such power, and in lieu of eliminating all abuse entirely I'm of course in favor of limiting at least the worst of it.
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby orthogon » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:18 pm UTC

It might be worth mentioning the innocent-until-proven-guilty principle, too. Since most incidents of sexual harassment (and worse) probably take place when only the victim and perp are present, there's likely to be a "her word against his" situation. It's often said that victims aren't believed, but there's an inevitable imbalance resulting from the burden of proof being on the accuser. There's a massive gap between not being believed and not being able to meet the standard of evidence required for a conviction, and many, if not most cases are going to fall into this gap. This is bad for the victim, but it's bad for an innocent defendant too, since being cleared only means it's not beyond reasonable doubt that you did it. What can tip the balance, though, is a large number of accusers, and that seems to be what's started to happen recently. Then it becomes his word against all theirs. But the trouble there is that somebody has to go first, and second, and probably third, before the mass of testimony starts to become overwhelming. Basically the situation sucks, but it's hard to see how this fundamental suckiness can be solved without throwing away since central tenets of the legal system.
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Dark567 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:21 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:It might be worth mentioning the innocent-until-proven-guilty principle, too. Since most incidents of sexual harassment (and worse) probably take place when only the victim and perp are present, there's likely to be a "her word against his" situation. It's often said that victims aren't believed, but there's an inevitable imbalance resulting from the burden of proof being on the accuser.
And to a certain extent, the US is actually better than a lot of the rest of the world on this because you can make the claim and if you don't win you still get to walk away without any legal penalty(although plenty of social/emotional penalty). In a lot of the world losing a case or even making a public claim like this could open you up to a libel/defamation lawsuit unless you can prove it happened.
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Ranbot » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:49 pm UTC

Pfhorrest wrote:
Ranbot wrote:The employer/employee economic power differential you describe in example B will never be removed unless you achieve an ideal form of communism (impossible).

It's attitudes like that that keep it from being possible.

.....noticing that, hey, this is yet another problem that ultimately boils down to capitalism (or its antecedents, in other eras)...

People ruin communism exactly the same way they ruin capitalism, and we have examples of both through history and currently to prove it. Saying a system is at fault for the shitty things individual people do let's those shitty individuals off the hook.

Pfhorrest wrote:My point wasn't that other solutions that limit the abusability of power differentials shouldn't be pursued...

Understood. It just wasn't clear from your previous post about systemic economics. The systemic economics felt like a side issue or distraction from dealing with individual abusers now. I didn't really think you wouldn't support other solutions too.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Ranbot » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:22 am UTC

orthogon wrote:It might be worth mentioning the innocent-until-proven-guilty principle, too. ...it's hard to see how this fundamental suckiness can be solved without throwing away since central tenets of the legal system.

If it's any consolation the public seems to cast their verdict pretty quickly, at least on the offenders who are publicly visible. People are losing jobs and careers much faster than the court systems are moving. Some of the accusations are pretty compelling that yeah the assholes deserve what they get before any trial... but there are few that feel like they might be a little too reactionary, based on what's known so far. LIke NPR's cutting all ties with Garrison Keillor...“I put my hand on a woman’s bare back,” [Garrison Keillor] told the Star Tribune by e-mail minutes after [Minnesota Public Radio]’s statement. “I meant to pat her back after she told me about her unhappiness and her shirt was open and my hand went up it about six inches. She recoiled. I apologized. I sent her an email of apology later and she replied that she had forgiven me and not to think about it. We were friends. We continued to be friendly right up until her lawyer called. The linked article also states there are no other known instances of Garrison Keillor making any sexual advances or harassment with any other co-worker in his ~50 year career.

Maybe there's more to the Garrison Keillor thing and if so I will gladly eat my words. I'm just concerned that if there are too many overly-reactionary responses, it risks delegitimizing the movement. It creates examples the opponents will parade around saying, "See that! That's crazy! They are crazy! We don't have to listen to them!"
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby ucim » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:34 am UTC

Ranbot wrote:If it's any consolation the public seems to cast their verdict pretty quickly,
[...]I'm just concerned that if there are too many overly-reactionary responses,
I know people personally (and am personally familiar with the situation) where they simply stopped working in a field because it's too easy to be accused, and it is impossible to defend even when innocent. In one case, a private tutor simply closed shop. He was an excellent teacher, and not at all inappropriate. But all it takes is one to start a rumor, and as this realization dawned, he just stopped tutoring. In another case, there was a stage hand who, filling in for an actor in rehearsal, while in the middle of a scene reached down (as was called for in the part) but the actress beneath him had moved, and his hand landed squarely on her breast. This was the day before a two week trip, so it might have been perceived as a "grab and go". There were no immediate repercussions, but he's no longer in the field.

The sword is sharp on both sides.

There are actions that are known by both parties to be abuse; these are clearly wrong. But I don't think anybody here is arguing to the contrary.

Rather, the issue is where there are actions which one party thinks is innocent, and the other party either doesn't think so, or gains an advantage by playing that card. That's where the problem with solving the other problem lies.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby orthogon » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:20 pm UTC

(Posting here as the Damian Green story began in connection with sexual harrassment allegations against him)
Damian Green computer porn claims: 'Thousands' of images viewed
Neil Lewis examined the [PC seized from senior Tory MP Damian Green's office] during a 2008 inquiry into government leaks and has not spoken publicly before.
He said "thousands" of thumbnail images of legal pornography were on it.

Can anyone work out what this "thumbnail" business is about? Are these thumbnails from a web page that act as links to the full resolution pictures?
Were the thumbnails in his cache, and if so what about the actual images? Did he not actually click on any of them? Or did he download the thumbnails, in which case how did that happen? You get served borderline porn thumbnails associated with clickbait just from visiting the Independent's website these days, and I've landed on a porn page that's cybersquatting an expired domain more than once. Or did he mean that he (Lewis) only saw thumbnails (i.e. in the "large icons" view of Windows Explorer) but that the actual files were the full res images?
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby Tyndmyr » Fri Dec 01, 2017 3:32 pm UTC

cphite wrote:
Pfhorrest wrote:I think the only real total long-term solution to this problem, like so many others, is to eliminate the power differentials that enable it. Not all power differentials, which as has been rightly pointed out is impossible, but the kind that are severe enough to constitute coercive force sufficient to induce nonconsensual sexual behavior.


In addition to being completely unrealistic, that seems to focus on the wrong problem. There are plenty of cases where power differentials exist, and nobody is harmed; in fact that would appear to be the norm. The problem is not power differentials, the problem is the people who abuse power differentials.


I dunno, I think there have always been a pretty significant number of people who abuse power. I think it's literally easy to change power structures than it is to change human nature in this regard.

This is why it's actually illegal to sexually harass people in the workplace. It's not something that your boss or your company can simply decide to tolerate; it's actually against the law. It's also illegal to take retaliatory action against someone who reports harassment.


They can, and they do. They ought not to, perhaps, but if it's your word against the CEOs, well...you risk a lot just by coming forward. Making this is illegal is all well and good, but it hasn't really solved the problem. Fact of the matter is, if the power differential is strong enough, laws do not apply evenly. Those with money, status, etc have an easier time ignoring them.

The reason that people "choose not to risk it" or choose to go along and make the best of things, is *because* there is risk.

The employer/employee economic power differential you describe in example B will never be removed unless you achieve an ideal form of communism (impossible).


I disagree. The employer/employee relationship has changed in the past, and will probably continue to do so in the future. Unions were a big part of past changes, and though they're not as relevant today, more changes are happening now. Consider the gig economy, for instance. You drive for Uber and Lyft, and neither you nor the rider have immense power over each other, because it's a transactional model. Yeah, piss this one customer off, and he might leave a bad review and opt to not tip, but so long as you're not doing that on the regular...you can afford to walk away from a fare. It's far easier than walking away from a job. Now, there are still fairly few companies, so they have a little more power...albeit in a very impersonal way, because you never meet, so sexual harassment isn't really relevant. But even that can change as more companies come to exist.

Now, that's just one potential example, but there's a lot of changes that could be made to give individuals more choice to walk away from individual situations, and this has a lot of really good side effects for other problems as well. I dare say that a rigidly authoritarian, in person command structure isn't even a feature of capitalism(the military isn't very capitalistic, and it uses it), and exists for entirely other reasons. Mostly for the convenience/benefit of whoever is in charge of it.

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby eran_rathan » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:13 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:They can, and they do. They ought not to, perhaps, but if it's your word against the CEOs, well...you risk a lot just by coming forward. Making this is illegal is all well and good, but it hasn't really solved the problem. Fact of the matter is, if the power differential is strong enough, laws do not apply evenly. Those with money, status, etc have an easier time ignoring them.

The reason that people "choose not to risk it" or choose to go along and make the best of things, is *because* there is risk.


You get exactly as much justice as you can afford in America. And when you can (for the right price) just buy judges and prosecutors, I'm sorry, I mean, "substantially finance their re-election campaign," there's a fair amount that you can get away with.




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Billy Bush: Whatever you want.

Trump: Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything."
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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby CorruptUser » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:51 pm UTC

Wait, there are countries where justice ISN'T for sale?

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Re: Sexual Harrassment Epidemic

Postby speising » Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:55 pm UTC

at least there are countries where the jurisdiction isn't elected and doesn't need to please their electorate.


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