#MeToo started out as a way for women to point out how rampant sexual harassment is within the workplace. Now, it has turned into a witch hunt calling out men for unwanted touches, words, acts, or perceived harassment that didn’t occur a few months or years ago, but years ago when memories no longer serve as accurate renditions of what happened. We have lost sight of the real problem – corporations that ignored the reports, forced the women to sign non-disclosure contracts, or lose their jobs instead of addressing the harassment with the man. Shouldn’t the corporations that allowed the sexual harassment to continue be held accountable for approving the actions of the men simply by default of not addressing the harassment?
Corporations who do not or did not address the sexual harassment complaint or who threatens the victim approve the activity and send the message to the man that his behavior is acceptable. This is a mixed signal to the man who without correction has no knowledge that his activities are unacceptable. I’m not saying the man should have common sense enough to know his behavior is not acceptable, but in defense of men in general, most men think they are doing nothing wrong unless someone points it out to them. Corporations for years have turned a blind eye to women’s reports of sexual harassment on the job, and they have patted the man on the back without any repercussions.
So, shouldn’t we women be holding the corporations at fault for the misbehavior of the male employee? Are we not placing blame at the feet of the wrong entity when we hold the man responsible and allow the corporation off the hook? Shouldn’t the corporation receive some form of punishment instead of simply firing the man? In most cases, the corporation is in a win-win situation when it fires the man who did the unacceptable behavior and the woman is forced to resign because the corporation is saving money on the salary it would have been paying. Some corporations do a “keep quiet pay-off” to the women, then give the women a bad recommendation, and the man just finds a new job without his bad behavior being an issue. The woman carries a stigma because she must tell new employers that she received a settlement from her last position, but she cannot tell why because of a “non-disclosure contract”. The woman’s ability to find a job becomes severely hampered. The man goes to the next employer, has nothing on his employment record, no “non-disclosure contract”, and nothing to report on an employment application. Corporations have the woman over a barrel because she needs the money until she can find a job, but she can’t find a job because she has a settlement. Seems unfair practice to me because the victim is the one punished.
We need to demand corporations who turn a blind eye to sexual harassment or unequal treatment of women be held accountable for their participation and basic promotions of unacceptable behavior on the job. We need to quit just pointing out the man and yell loud and clear the name of the company who by non-action approves of bad behavior. Instead of just naming the man, name the corporation, the manager who ignored the situation or threatened with loss of job, the CEO, and/or any other participant in covering up bad behavior. Until corporations’ bottom lines are affected by turning a blind eye, we will not see any permanent changes within the corporate world. The government needs to enforce the civil rights laws and equal employment laws with corporations fining them for violations and sanctioning them for violations. When this happens, permanent changes will be put in place. Corporations will address the issue when their bottom line is affected.
In summary, yes women need to speak up about sexual harassment, but the witch hunt of going back 20, 30, and 40 years needs to stop. People do change, and memory does not serve us well after 5 to 10 years or sometimes 1 to 2 days, but in this case, we need to take things with a grain of salt over 10 years. A young man will behave differently than an older wiser man. Instead of women just naming men, corporations need to be held accountable for ignored unwanted, unacceptable behavior. Laws need to be enforced by the government toward the corporations who allow unacceptable behavior to continue by ignoring reports and by threatening the victim. All entities should be held accountable. Forced non-disclosure contracts should be illegal in the case of the victim losing her job because of reporting bad behavior. When a man is let go for sexual harassment, that should be a part of his employee file and should be reported to the next employer until such time the man demonstrates changed behavior or has received training on appropriate behavior just as the woman’s employment record is disclosed. The victim should not be punished for the acts of a corporation or a badly behaving man. We women should hold the corporations who ignore our complaints responsible for the behavior of the men we work with when the corporations demonstrate to the man his behavior is acceptable by not addressing the complaint with the man and punishing the woman for complaining. Non-action is passive approval of bad behavior.