Sunday Mornings with Rania: Their Glory Days are Over - Goodbye to These Leading Men

For decades, women have been harassed at the workplace. This is simply a known fact. A 2016 study by EEOC found that up to 85 percent of women reported having experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. To make matters worse, an October 2017 study found that 75 percent of workplace harassment victims experienced retaliation when they spoke up. The end results? Decades of women being abused in the workplace but knowing very well that if they wanted to keep their jobs, they needed to put up and shut up.

Not anymore.

In just the last few months, our country's culture has literally turned on a dime. Employers are now standing by victims and immediately addressing claims of sexual abuse in the workplace, leaving us all shocked and stunned and saying goodbye to so many leading men, such as:

  • FOX NEWS icon Bill O'Reilly
  • Powerful movie producer Harvey Weinstein
  • Oscar winning actor Kevin Spacey
  • Hollywood screenwriter and director James Toback
  • ABC News political director Mark Halperin
  • NBC Today Show anchor Matt Lauer

And as I write this, we'll add one more to the list, Russell Simmons. As I write this, news is literally breaking that CEO and music mogul Simmons will be stepping down due to sexual assault allegations.

So now what? How do we as a country manage this swinging pendulum and make sure we keep the integrity of both the victims and their cases? How do we make sure we don't turn our newfound justice into a meaningless witch hunt?

We do two things:

  1. Stick to the law and the legal definitions of sexual assault.
  2. Encourage women in the work force to continue to say NO and sexual assault victims to SPEAK UP.

According to the Department of Justice, sexual assault is defined as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.

Readers and friends, please note: Something like fondling in and of itself may not be labeled sexual assault. The contact must be done in a sexual manner, or a manner that was intended for the purposes of sexual arousal and gratification. A pat on the rear while you walk by or a hand placed on a rear during a photo, (although HORRIBLY disrespectful, made in poor taste and worth reporting under certain company codes of moral conduct) may not (and in isolated cases most likely will not) rise to the legal level of sexual assault.

So, to all our female friends and colleagues in the workplace, to all the young women who are just entering, we want you to continue to say NO and to SPEAK UP FOR YOURSELF. Know both the legal definitions of sexual assault and your company's policy on moral codes of conduct. Don't be afraid to use your voice, society is on your side! And if you have been a victim of assault, keep records of everything – emails, photos, gifts, etc. Build your case and get ready to take your accuser to court. We are standing behind you!

The only people who can ruin the path we are on is us. Let's be careful, mindful and respectful of the employers who now seek to protect us. As far as these leading men, while you had great talents and contributed to all our lives in different ways, to think that you were ever above the law or entitled to such abuse is beyond us all. Goodbye, goodbye and good riddance.

Rania Mankarious, executive director of Crime Stoppers of Houston, provides safety tips and important perspectives on what's going on in the news every Sunday morning. To read more of Rania's blogs, please visit https://thebuzzmagazines.com/sunday-mornings-with-rania.

 

About the author

Executive Director of Crime Stoppers of Houston