Political Commentary - Is Debating Sexual Harassment Policy Alternatives Attacking Women?

by Placerville Newswire / Dec 18, 2017 / comments

[Dan Dellinger]

    In a recent column (Sexual Harassment – Office Crime Wave Or Feminist Power Plays) I raised several critical questions suggesting that our current government policy for eliminating sexual harassment from our workplaces is flawed and reminded readers about the historical policy alternative that preceded our expensive system of invasive laws, regulations, and legal remedies enacted since the 1980’s.  

These critical questions asked were: 

1) If we as a society cannot agree on a definition of behavior constituting sexual harassment, how can we develop fair and equitable remedies to compensate victims and deter perpetrators

2) So with the scales of public opinion tilted against every man charged with sexual impropriety, how do we protect the reputations of falsely accused innocent men and compensate them from the professional and economic damage caused by malicious accusations

3) Is the current cost of trying to sterilize our workplaces and public discourse of anything sexually offensive to anyone outweighing the benefit of this social policy change to our society?  

The historical policy alternative cited was allowing the men in the family to confront an accused sexual harasser and settle the problem “man-to-man” if the harassment failed to stop. 

    Contrary to the spirit of healthy debate, I was sorely disappointed by suggestions on Facebook by some people that I was attacking women, instead of posting their own constructive policy suggestions to stop this problem.  This emotional reaction coupled with the national news media’s push to stampede our lawmakers into enacting greater workplace regulation should be troubling to all of us. Like race relations, are we as a society going to make sex relations too volatile to openly discuss without fear of a harmful backlash?

   It should be obvious to all of us that despite four decades of intrusive laws, regulations, and punitive civil penalties that our governments have created to end sexual harassment, the problem is still with us. Glaring flaws, like the absence of protections for people who are innocent of false accusations and “confidentially clauses” in settlement agreements that sweep bad deeds under the carpet so sexual harassers can maintain their powerful jobs and keep preying upon co-workers, must be fixed. As we debate solutions, we should also be mindful that there is a fine line between protecting equal rights and creating special rights.

    A central contradiction we see is that feminism, as taught at our colleges and universities, does not know whether to say that women are capable or vulnerable. If women are capable, they deserve to be independent, particularly of men; if they are vulnerable, they need to be protected, particularly from men, but by men. This is confusing to men, who society teaches that respecting women means looking out for them.  

   Outside of conceivable government intrusion is the question of how to teach our children about sex relations and sexual harassment. This is no longer easy because our children are receiving mixed messages. While parents are teaching that we should value women and not degrade them, and that sexual harassment is just plain wrong, our society is giving them conflicting evidence. So we should be asking ourselves - when our children are taught that it is great social progress to put their sisters and girl classmates in combat so bearded Jihadists can try to kill them, that becoming an “artist” singing songs glorifying violence against women can make an entertainer rich and famous, or that when you grow up women should be aggressive like men to better compete against others to get a good job, then why should we expect better results stopping sexual harassment then we are getting

In hindsight, I realize that important topics like sex relations and sexual harassment policy need more than four or five paragraphs to properly discuss, but if we do not openly and honestly discuss this problem, we will never adopt the best solution to fix the current flaws and solve this problem.   

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Dan Dellinger is a government relations and political consultant based in El Dorado County who earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics and Business Management from the University of California – Davis. Dan can be reached at dandellinger@infostation.com