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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Who's harassing who?

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Author Topic: Who's harassing who?
Kara Zor-El
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Just to preface, this is not a current issue in my life, but this inquiry is stemming from a recent kvetch session between myself and a few friends. This happened last year at a theatre where we all worked.

There is a sexual harassment policy in place at this theatre, although it is my belief that only the full-time employees are fully aware of what the policy states. Of course this policy is necessary, however I always found it odd that it was in place at a theatre, since show folk are notorious for becoming very close with each other, with all of the usual jokes and innuendo that come with that. For a long time, everyone took everything in the intended spirit, all in good fun, and no one got offended.

A young woman started working there at one point who rather quickly made her anti-porn feminism very clear. I am a feminist myself so I understand where she comes from, but before too long, this woman was picking fights with people. One such instance was when she had just been over at one of the employee's apartments (invited over by this employee's wife), and she came storming back into the workplace calling this employee a "porn user" (her words) to his face because she had just seen his collection of Playboy magazines. This debate was settled in a fairly civil tone, but I don't understand why she felt it was okay to bring this issue into work.

A little while later (a few weeks perhaps), we were all sitting around during some downtime, just talking about movies and such. A diverse group of people was present -- men, women, gay, straight, black, white, latin -- oh, and this woman was among us, reading a book, I believe. Some anecdotes were being told about some raunchy comments made by someone on an awards program. Most of us were amused, but this woman got very offended. Nothing wrong with that, but she didn't say anything. Instead, a few hours later she went to her manager (who was there when the stories were being told) and put in a claim of sexual harassment. Long story short, all of us got in trouble. Problem was, though, this woman kept starting out-of-left-field, politically and sexually charged conversations like the Playboy incident. And everytime someone reported her behavior to the higher-ups, little or nothing was done about it. It had been explained to her that sexual harassment can be directed to any gender, by any gender, but she refused to accept that. My friends who still work there say this has poisoned the whole atmosphere.

I'm interested in some impartial comments on all this. It's awfully complicated and I try to be sensitive to all these issues and feelings, but it gets so muddy when you're in some way involved.

Thanks, everyone! Hope I wasn't too long-winded here...

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"If you're going through Hell, keep going..."
- Winston Churchill

Posts: 123 | From: New York City | Registered: Aug 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Sounds to me like this woman is the instigator here, and that the sexual harassment policies at the theater aren't being applied fairly.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68006 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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