• Andy Schauer

Workplace Harassment: A Perspective

A few days ago SAG-AFTRA announced that it's releasing an "app to identify workplace serial sexual abusers". Frankly, this seems like just another layer of approval people have to meet before they can be sure public opinion will be on their side and that they are, in fact, allowed to feel feelings.


The more time people have to stew in their positions and the more the anticipation builds toward a "resolution," the worse the situation (and everyone's feelings about it) get. On top of that we're litigating -- sometimes literally, but almost always at least figuratively -- almost every one of these cases that comes to light.


And it's not working. Even before the pandemic we were pushing each other further and further away for fear of being too human in the wrong way; meanwhile, Roman Polanski released a movie last year. It's completely upside-down: decent people shouldn't be the ones constantly worried about whether they're "right" and made to feel like they have to jump through a bunch of hoops to prove they are. Not when Louis CK was booking shows pre-lockdown.


We need systems/resources/policies to minimize the risks of these behaviors happening in the first place, but also to empower would-be victims and bystanders to effectively confront and deal with them when they do. But even before all that we still need to figure out: What *corrective* or restorative action steps are necessary (and under which circumstances)? As of now the only "resolutions" really available are criminal or monetary punishments. Again, though, that just is not working. Sure there are verdicts against Weinstein but on the criminal side he has a chance of getting out basically whenever, and on the civil side who knows how long it'll be before his victims actually see any money? Or once they do whether it will actually bring them a sense of peace and finality?


Until we start at least asking ourselves some of these questions all we're doing is feeding into the same things that got us here in the first place, except now we're all under a constant shroud of anxiety (or blissfully oblivious and, therefore, prone to being abusively insensitive).

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