Yesterday, John Oliver released a video on his show about workplace sexual harassment. While my thoughts on the subject are still fresh, I thought I’d express them. This won’t be a response to John Oliver, it’s simply my thoughts on the subject in general.
I know … just know … that a lot of people are going to get pissed off with this article without caring to read or understand what I say in it.
This is one of those serious subjects that everyone has strong feelings about, and even though most people’s feelings point in the same direction (harassment is bad), it’s still impossible to have an honest discussion about the subject. Why? Because half the population wants to believe every single claim made about sexual harassment or assault regardless of the evidence or nuance, while the other half of the population doesn’t want these claims to be used as weapons or a means for attention/fame/money.
We need to be able to have an honest discussion. And since I’m known for being honest and blunt … Well, buckle up.
Let me start by stating some facts that many people, especially progressive-minded people, outright ignore:
BOTH genders can be victims and perpetrators of sexual harassment and assault. Sometimes women want to hook up with a guy who’s not interested and crosses the line, just as often as it is the other way around. It’s still bad, no matter who’s doing it.
Humans have needs. This includes males and females. Sexual desire is a kind of appetite, like the need to eat food. Go too long without it, and it drives you crazy. It has a real effect on your body and your psyche when you don’t satisfy this need. It doesn’t help anything when we pretend, as a society, that getting laid is not an actual need. Mother nature built us this way to make sure we reproduce.
Not everyone who makes sex jokes, or compliments someone’s body, or even stares at someone’s body, is a creep. None of those things cause harm.
Three simple points. Should be common sense.
In the Workplace
Now, in regards to a workplace, whether it’s in an office or a construction site, it’s unprofessional to talk about a coworker’s appearance, whether you’re saying it to their face or not. When you’re working, you are there to work. Unless your job is specifically to talk about appearances, you should never do it. If I ran my own company, I would ban it outright, the way teachers ban gossip in the middle of class, and for the same reason.
I said that it’s a fact that both genders can be victims of unwanted attention, advances, and assault. But, it is also true (and we have to keep both of these facts in mind), that women are the primary victims of these things. Men are bigger and stronger than women, so it’s important in any workplace that women never feel endangered or that they could be in danger. For example, a workplace shouldn’t have only 1 woman while the other 50 employees are men.
Honestly, I don’t think HR departments are a good enough concept when it comes to reporting sexual harassment or assault. I think there should be a hotline that’s basically like 911, but for non-emergency matters in the workplace when employees don’t feel comfortable bringing things up to other members of the company. This is an issue John Oliver actually touched on. Many victims don’t, in fact, report what happened to them because they know a company’s HR department would rarely go after someone in the company who is very high on the totem pole. They feel silenced before they even speak. And even if the matter is dealt with, there’s always just some big-figure settlement to keep the victim silent afterward… Aaaaand nothing changes. This is why I feel the most serious of accusations in a company should go toward an anonymous hotline.
#MeToo and #TimesUp
I have mixed feelings about #MeToo and its predecessor #TimesUp. I appreciate that people everywhere are uniting to empower victims to bring justice to those who crossed the line. At the same time, I do believe that it turned into a witch hunt, and that it had that potential from the very beginning. The way Black Lives Matter turned into a hate cult that literally called for the deaths of cops, #MeToo started targeted men everywhere even if they weren’t guilty of anything.
Still, the true accusations were able to use #MeToo to bring justice through strength in numbers, and that ought to be celebrated. But #MeToo shouldn’t be allowed to turn into a witch hunt against any man that a female doesn’t like.
“Teach Them Not to Rape”
I wanted to focus mainly on harassment, but I felt this is a good time to talk about this particular phrase. This phrase disgusted me from the first time I heard it. Absolutely disgusted me. It’s a catchphrase, and one that was designed to make it sound okay to label all men as rapists. And not only that, it encourages women to never take precautions.
Okay, first of all, everyone IS already taught that rape is bad. Secondly, it clearly isn’t enough to stop someone who wants to commit the crime. This stupid phrase was the equivalent of asking that police forces around the world should be removed and we should just ask people not to commit crimes anymore. Yep, that’s the cure to theft, and arson, and vandalism, and assault, and murder… Let’s just ASK people not to do those things anymore. Let’s just teach people those things are bad because apparently we haven’t done that already. Some people clearly don’t know how criminal minds work.
If someone wants to steal your bike, they will steal it, even if you ask them nicely not to. Process that concept for a moment.
People, especially women, should never pretend that rapists don’t exist, and this stupid phrase just encourages women to think they never have to take precautions in life. It tells them to ignore their natural, basic instincts and live in la la land, where nothing goes wrong, and if something does go wrong, it’s totally men’s faults. That is foolish. That is colossally asinine. Rapists (male and female) do exist, and therefore, people (namely women) should take precautions against them. Precautions alone won’t stop a rapist, but it will make assault much less likely. Like locking your house at night; it doesn’t guarantee anything, but it is good at discouraging intruders. Or like how wasps have stingers; it doesn’t guarantee nobody will mess with them, but it also makes it much less likely.
I believe women should be able to get drunk with their friends and wear clothing that is as revealing as they want. But if a girl does this while, for example, putting herself in a vulnerable environment where she doesn’t even know the people surrounding her, then she is an idiot who doesn’t know how reality works. These far-left progressive catchphrases and hashtags are only justifying such stupidity. They’re causing more harm, not less. Again, there are no guarantees in life, but for crying out loud, don’t encourage people to not bother thinking ahead.
Sorry that took a dark turn for a moment.
Unfortunately, when it comes to harassment, it is a very difficult thing to prove. If, for example, someone grabs your butt or gropes your breast for a moment, how can you prove that when it leaves no evidence? There isn’t always going to be a camera recording the event, and even then, camera evidence is easy to destroy.
There really isn’t any cure to what causes these repulsive, immoral behaviors, either. Men and women will always have urges, and to different degrees, and with different preferences. Spotting what’s going to happen with one specific person is virtually impossible.
I’m not saying mother nature made us all monsters. I’m only stating where these things come from. Food can be toxic but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eat. Sex can be fun and the most pleasurable thing in the world, but that doesn’t mean it always comes exactly the way we want to. Anything can be distorted. Even water can hurt you in various ways.
There’s also the awkward truth that, frankly…. A lot of people, women in particular, enjoy being flirted with. A lot of women like being talked dirty to. When they find the guy attractive, he can flirt all he wants and touch whatever he wants, but as soon as it’s a guy they don’t like, it becomes wrong. I’m not exactly saying that’s hypocritical, but I would like to make people think: How can every single person know when too much is too much? Women play games, and go out of their way to make their games difficult for men to win.
Look, if it’s assault, obviously there’s no gray area there, but not every wink, or compliment, or joke, or subtle gesture is a crime. Especially when a lot of women actually want these things from the guys they’re attracted to. On top of that, women like to play games, which usually involve the guy having to make a lot of guesses. That makes things even more annoyingly complicated.
I don’t claim to have an easy solution to all the problems involving this entire subject. All I am trying to say is that we need to discuss the subject, and discuss it honestly. There are basic facts we shouldn’t ignore, but at the same time, we shouldn’t be complacent.
All claims about harassment and assault should be investigated. Period.
When you hear a story about “a frat party went wrong,” you should not claim it as true nor treat it as true immediately, the same way you wouldn’t automatically assume it isn’t true. Facts matter, especially when these kinds of accusations can destroy lives. I could easily list examples of how false rape or harassment accusations have destroyed lives. It does happen. Time has shown people are most certainly willing to destroy lives for petty reasons, or no reason at all.
I apologize if my thoughts sound scatterbrained. I don’t know how to conclude this when there’s no simple solution to these particular problems in society. All I can do is repeat: Facts matter. Never assume anything one way or another.