Friday, April 30, 2010

Gossip Columnist Wants Girls And Women To Deal With Sexual Harassment And Assault But Only According To Her Dictates

New York Post gossip columnist, Cindy Adams, is the latest woman to tell those who have been victims of sexual harassment to deal with it while placing tight restrictions on the proper way to deal with actions which she acknowledges are so pervasive that no girl or woman doesn't face them at some point.

I was maybe 10. In a highly respected elderly doctor's Upper East Side examination room. My mom had left for one second. His hands began examining what wasn't there for examining. I pushed him away and never mentioned it to a soul. Not anybody. Until now. And I still remember his name.

I was maybe 16. The office of a theatrical agent who had a Tiffany reputation. He took me into a private room to test my voice. And what he looked to test was not my voice. I pushed him off and never mentioned it to anyone. Until now. And I still remember his name.

In whichever way we chose, we dealt with it. Calling a lawyer to say, "I'm suing because this guy laid his hands on me"? Oh, please, if that's his only part he laid on you, get some nail extensions and inform Larry Lothario next time you'll rake him like the leaves.
This last quoted paragraph contradicts itself. It begins by giving the individual the choice for how to deal with it, but then immediately sets limits. Personal threats and personal self-defense are the only options Adams will allow.

Neither that doctor nor that agent had a right to sexually assault a child. But that is what Adams is defending as something for the individual to deal with unaided. Sexual assault of a minor. She may feel that she evaded worse because she "dealt with it" but she evaded worse in large part because of luck. Others likely were not so lucky when they were in those men's offices.

Adams' view by default puts the responsibility and blame on all girls and women whose defenses were trampled and by default takes the responsibility and blame off of those who sexually harass and sexually assault girls and women. No wonder she is opposed to civil lawsuits for sexual harassment.

Maybe Cindy Adams wants women to go to work with a taser or other weapon in their purse and use it each time they are sexually harassed. If she supports all ways of dealing with sexual harassment and sexual assault short of civil lawsuits then she needs to support laws which protect girls and women who aggressively defend themselves even if that means the sexual harassers need to be rushed to the hospital to have bullets removed. Somehow I doubt she supports this level of self-defense. That means those who are supposed to "deal with it" must walk a tighter line than those who are causing others to "deal with it."

If deal with it means no civil lawsuits then our civil court system must be abandoned in it's entirety. Nobody, including Cindy Adams, should be allowed to sue anybody for any reason. We should all just deal with it. But these types of rants are highly selective and reflect the ranter's bias.

Adams uses her own experiences with sexual harassment and her own way of dealing with those violations as the rule by which all other women must be judged. She never told anyone so nobody else is allowed to tell. Those who she described as having sexually harassed her likely committed similar actions or worse against others, but the only acceptable response is her response.


Those who sexually harass and those who sexually assault others should deal with civil and criminal consequences of the actions. Too often these people get away with their offenses, but it is immoral to demand that these people should be let off the hook.

Sexual harassment is not something which comes from biology, it is something which comes from lack of ethics, entitlement and lack of negative consequences. People who dismiss sexual harassment and sexual assault as normal workplace behavior and cite the commonness of that behavior as their proof would be unlikely to do the same if the workplace wrongdoing were identity theft or embezzlement. If bosses were using personnel data to open fraudulent accounts in employees names I doubt that Adams would demand that victims simply "deal with it."

H/T: Huffington Post


Bookmark and Share
posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:42 AM   3 comments links to this post


At April 30, 2010 7:38 PM, Anonymous rj said...

and this is how women continue to silence other women

At May 01, 2010 2:57 AM, Blogger sophie said...

I should say if she controlled the situation by pushing the guy away she was very lucky... and can't help but think of the many who would have been unable to respond in such a manner.
You know, I wasn't thinking of situations like this in what I just blogged, but it fits... boundaries of politeness are *enough* to prevent women from 'standing up for themselves'. And no blame to them.

I must have closed that window, but it kind of bounced off this post:

At May 02, 2010 10:12 AM, Anonymous gidget commando said...

I really loathe it when women do this to other women: "I handled it this way, therefore this is the ONLY way you can handle it and if you don't, there's something wrong with you and/or you deserved it."

Fie. If she were an Upper East Sider when those incidents took place, then she already had a ton of privilege going on that many of us don't have.

There is one greater point lurking in her comment, though, that I think she didn't intend, but that I think we could all agree on: if predators faced certain and swift punishment for their behavior, fewer of them would even try.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home