Beer Goggles, Kate, Steve and I Discuss Sexual Harassment: TidePodcast Epic-Sode 55

Kate, Steve and BC007 discuss sexual harassment.

Brock Turner found guilty on three felony counts; by Hannah Knowles – March 30, 2016; The Stanford Daily

Attorney argues Brock Turner’s sexual assault conviction should be overturned; By Erik Ortiz; July 25, 2018; NBC News

Court upholds sex assault conviction for ex-Stanford swimmer Brock Turner; BY CRIMESIDER STAFF; AUGUST 9, 2018; CBS News

The judge in the infamous Brock Turner case finally explains his decision — a year later; By Cleve R. Wootson Jr.; July 2, 2017; The Washington Post

BC007 gave a Shout-Out to Feather from over @ Hawk Feather Stories, head on over and let her know that Coffee sent ya!!!


32 thoughts on “Beer Goggles, Kate, Steve and I Discuss Sexual Harassment: TidePodcast Epic-Sode 55

  1. Ooooh Coffee…this was interesting. Although I have to admit I found it really hard to listen to the last part.

    I guess there are many shades of what might or might not be defined as harassment depending on whose view it is.

    I am comfortable, totally comfortable with someone expressing a genuine interest/attraction towards someone. But in a work setting in is difficult, because you cannot escape your boss or colleague. So you try to make your no mean no, but in a nice way so it is not horribly awkward.

    But people have different boundaries. I was always quite tactile – much less so since I was the victim of a crime. My Dad used to to grab our elbow and kind of squeeze it (I hope that doesn’t sound odd, it was just his thing) and I started to doing it to my friends make and female. On one occasion one of my friends asked me to stop doing that to her husband who I had been working with on a project. I had never meant anything inappropriate by it, but I realized she did not want me to have any physical contact with her husband.

    If I have been attracted to a guy my usual reaction to him is to go all shy and smiley and not say anything to him, just glance at him. Not many of the men I have been attracted to even picked up on the change in my behaviour! So I have never had to deal with someone complain that I was being inappropriate.

    I accept that there are both men and women who deliberately use their sexuality to get places…and men and women who use their money/power/possessions to get what they want sexually. When it is two consenting adults who are making their own choices and following their own desires…that is their business. Personally I don’t feel comfortable with using my femininity/sexuality as some form of currency to get what I want or where I want. I only feel comfortable with sharing that with a man I am genuinely in love with and devoted to.

    But it’s the whole situation of either a man or woman trying to make it clear that they do not want that attention, they are not comfortable, no is no…and yet the other person persists – it’s not acceptable. It’s a horrible situation to be in especially when it is from someone who is superior to you in a work context, and if you don’t have a personnel department or senior member of staff to turn to for support.

    There is one situation where I am kind of on the fence…I knew a guy who had a major crush on a girl who worked for the same company. He wrote her poems and sent her little gifts. He did not touch her. She thought it was hilarious and laughed about him with all her friends. He told all his friends he was in love with her. Eventually he started to use social media to declare his feelings for her. She found that unacceptable. He was transferred to another job in a different part of the country. But he carried on declaring her love and trying to send messages to her to say he was still in love. Now I must admit, i found it hard to judge the situation (so I didn’t) she was never interested in him, but it was not exactly the kindest thing to do to laugh about him with her friends. But as he continued with his declarations of love, she started to find him creepy and felt he was becoming obsessive. I kind of felt sorry for him because he was young and when you are young it can be hard to understand your emotions and be balanced and understand the general code of conduct when it comes to how to act towards someone you like but who makes it clear they don’t like you.

    I don’t know…I have a lot of empathy for those who are not misusing their power…but just don’t know how to get a grip of their own emotions and accept that their feelings are unrequited. People make mistakes…but they have to learn from them. Next time they meet someone they are attracted to they need to understand how to deal with it appropriately and how to accept no is no.

    But maybe that’s why there is so much said about sexual harassment – in a world where people have not been provided with any kind of moral education and can easily view all sorts of images and videos and feed their minds with a huge range of sexual content…maybe it is a good thing that for those who may not get that there is a code of conduct, an appropriate way of expressing interest/attraction towards someone else, and that you have to be able to accept rejection and get over it….and stop any flirting or other unwanted behaviour.

    In general…the culture, the code of what is acceptable and not is often decided by the consensus of popular opinion. But I know that sometimes society gets it wrong.

    I will say this to conclude and maybe I sound childish – sex should be special, sex is a gift, and someone who has a high regard for another human should not force it on someone else. I have spoken to JWs many times and they do not teach that people go to hell. Actually the complete opposite – so that part was weird. But I have to say many people today don’t view sex as special, but as cheap. It’s no surprise to me that harassment, rape, abuse occur when people are so eager to get what they want whenever they want it. I have a huge respect for those who show genuine love, respect and honour to others – FULL STOP. If you genuinely respect someone, surely you would never treat them inappropriately.

    1. bottomlesscoffee007

      OMG Mel, you really felt this subject. That’s why we are talking about this stuff. I don’t think the majority of people really understand it, just like me.

      1. It’s a subject I have not been able to avoid – having been a victim (and I am totally comfortable with calling myself a victim) of a serious crime, (I hate the R – word) …
        …but it’s more the issue of people who do no mean to go anywhere near committing what they would consider a crime, they just really like someone and want to show it that I feel for. There is a whole code of conduct to learn when dealing with people you work with or are in class with on a regular basis. Because they need to be able to do their work without being afraid, intimidated or uncomfortable.
        We are all learning, we all mistakes. But if we truly respect others, we recognize where we need to adjust our behaviour don’t we?

        1. bottomlesscoffee007

          Totally Mel, but at what time does everything become so sterile to where there is no longer a sense of comradarie?

            1. bottomlesscoffee007

              Yes, maybe I’m old school. But I always thought a team handled set back and tackled obstacles so much better when they each have a sense of team and comradarie.

              1. I guess it may depend on people’s individual experiences…

                I can only speak from my own experience Coffee.
                I have worked on more than fifty construction projects and never faced harassment. I have been asked out. I have been out with men I worked with for a drink, or to the cinema or ice-skating but as we started chatting I knew I was not attracted to them and they accepted that.

                Then in London I was one of very few single women working along hundreds of single men. Again – never faced harassment. I always felt I had friendly relations. Some of the guys were like family. I played basketball with a group of mostly men every Friday night, went to a boot camp every Thursday with mostly men. Never had anyone made me feel uncomfortable.

                But I had one colleague when I worked in healthcare and two bosses (one was a when I was in an office job, the other when I was a housekeeper) over the years that would not accept that I was not interested and made me feel uncomfortable because they kept trying. They crossed boundaries that I truly believe the vast majority of people would agree on.

                1. bottomlesscoffee007

                  That’s horrible. But you highlight something there, it’s only a small minority that are the offenders, yet it seems to me that all of us men are made to feel guilty.

                  1. You should not feel guilty about something that you are not doing.

                    I can’t tell you how to deal with inappropriate guilt Coffee 🙂

                    Look I have been feeling terrible for buying bottled water for all these years. But once the media started making a lot of noise about what plastic is doing in the oceans, I bought myself a reusable water bottle and no longer buy bottled water. Does it annoy me that there is a lot of attention on plastic and what it is doing to the ocean? Nope! Because it is distressing to see the damage.

                    If you love women, well, if you love people, and care about the way they are treated, then don’t feel guilty, but be content with the fact that a lot more noise will need to be made about these issues until there are more changes perhaps.

                    That’s just my opinion…to be honest, I am often just too busy to pay attention to the media, so it does not get to me much.

                    1. People make unbalanced comments, sweeping statements, biased generalisations….
                      …don’t be thin-skinned.

                      Here is my view and it may be an outrageous generalisation that some people will disagree with: Most people want to fall in love and be in a secure relationship. Most people realize that to get there, you have to meet someone, find out if there is attraction on both sides and then go through all the steps of wooing or courting.

                      While we have hormones and desires as humans, most people are going to accept that attraction, flirting, are perfectly normal. It’s just the learning what is ok and what is not ok, and learning to accept rejection that is important.

                      In some ways I guess it’s good for men to hear what women have to say about what is ok and what is not ok, rather than listening to other men. Because perhaps that is where it is all been going a bit wrong.

                      Just as often women should listen to men on issues, rather than only other women.

                    2. bottomlesscoffee007

                      That’s just it, isn’t it. We cannot just talk about one side, both must be included if we except to actually get anywhere.

                    3. I would genuinely hope though that most people are balanced enough live their life treating other people reasonably well and not committing crimes. Most people once made aware of something they may have done that is not considered decent would probably be willing to adjust.

                      But in every nation, every religion, every ethnic and cultural group there are small number who go completely off the rails and do terrible things.

                      The thing is … suppose and a member of a particular club, church, company does something very wrong. That individual has committed the act. But in a way others may look at the reaction of the other members of the club, church or company. Do they make light of it? Do they try to sweep it under the carpet? Or do they condemn the wrong actions that have been committed and support whoever has suffered due to the wrongs done?

                      (there are examples in my head)

                      It’s all kind of depressing to think of the many acts of abuse that have been carried out. I have to bake a cake for tomorrow now, and then I am going out at 6.30pm (GMT) so I am going to have to leave it there.

                      But I guess more than anything, I would say mutual respect and dignity and unselfish love. If people live by that, they should not go to far wrong should they? And they may find a lot of happiness.

                    4. I will just mention though…after I was attacked, I was very prickly about men. It was only one man that attacked me, but it was the whole male population that I was uneasy with for a while. But I recovered. I was more sensitive and more fearful around men than I had ever been before….however, this incredible man named Goldfinch came along and found me, and he has done a lot to help me get over my fears.

                    5. bottomlesscoffee007

                      And that is totally understandable. Just like being wary of Muslims or black people or white people. I can totally understand your initial apprehensions.

  2. Is any kind of asserting power sexual harassment?

    Saying “you’d be prettier if you smiled” is harassment? It’s gotta be annoying, but isn’t calling it sexual harassment going a little too far?

    I’m sorry, but I cannot listen to this one, Coffee.

  3. I found this one tougher to get through – Kate is much more soft spoken than BC and Steve, so she was drowned out a lot. The conversation started out on topic and stayed there for a good long while, but it strayed from sexual harassment to sexual assault and rape. They are all distinctly different things…and each could easily take an hour’s debate in and of themselves.

    BC: I am a bit confused by your continual comments of “we need to go after the perpetrators”. Are we not? I fail to see why it’s a bad thing to also teach what’s wrong and what’s right as a blanket response. What would the alternative be? Not to have those conversations, not to discuss the specific lines, and to leave the definitions even more vague? That doesn’t seem to be the best route to go. What do you think the solution is?

    1. bottomlesscoffee007

      It just feels to me and maybe I’m alone in this, but it just feels as if the message is “men and boys need to be better”. That is a blanket response that, from where I’m standing, places all of the blame and culpability on boys and men.

      The conversation did stray. I’m still not exactly sure what is and what is not the minimum for sexual harassment. It seems like when it happens to a female, then it is sexual harassment, but when it happens to a guy, it’s just someone being an asshole.

      My idea of a solution is not to pit men and women against each other. We are companions for one another and the more we are separated on anything, the further we move from any solution. Why not treat everyone as individuals instead of as groups?

      Instead of “men and boys need to be better”, what about “all of us should do what we can to treat each other with dignity and respect”? This way it’s not a man woman thing, it’s an everyone thing.

      Ok, so Kate didn’t get enough airtime. Thanks for that Heather, it gets a little tricky with 3 or more people, but I really dug her addition to the conversation.

      Thanks for tuning in Heather. It means a lot.

      1. It feels that way to you because you are in that category and are sensitive to being blamed for something you don’t think you’ve been, or will be, guilty of. I get it from your standpoint. The problem is that the majority of the harassers/perps are male and it’s impossible to single out those who may become the problem. Society is trying to figure out how best to handle it – that doesn’t mean they’ve got it on lock. It’s similar to targeting any other identifier for other infractions/crimes. You can keep on tuning out, but there may be loads of others who need to hear it.

        You and I discussed the sexual harassment thing and, unfortunately, it’s largely subjective. There is a legal definition, but which specific actions fall under it are open to interpretation by the victim. This is why we have trials – so a judge and/or our peers can decide if what happened was truly out of line or if the victim is calling wolf by being too sensitive. It’s not a perfect solution – there never is a perfect solution.

        In an ideal world your solution would work, but society is carrying a lot of baggage and we’re all still holding grudges/fears for past wrongs. Hopefully we can get there in time, but I think it’s still a long ways off.

        And yes, I found listening to 3 people a bit more chaotic. I also felt as though Steve did the majority of the talking and both you and Kate suffered from that.

        1. bottomlesscoffee007

          Heather, I always look forward to your take on whatever I wrote or what my guests and I discussed.

          Maybe that’s why I cannot grasp the actual issue. Perhaps the way I observe people, I always seem to see the individual and not the group.

          It seems as if it is continual mass punishment and guilt by association.

          I hope you still enjoy hearing these conversations though. I hope they are starting to stand on their own and not fade into the background among so many other podcasts.

          1. The hope is that we will learn and do better. That will take time and mistakes, which nobody likes to hear. We’re an impatient people.

            “It seems as if it is continual mass punishment and guilt by association.”

            Historically, it’s how we’ve always done things. You are also guilty of it, even if you don’t want to admit it. By throwing people into categories of the right or left, you automatically assume you know their stance on everything. While that may be true in some cases, most folks I know have some core values/opinions that generally place them in their category, but they usually also have values/opinions that are outliers from their category, yet they are automatically assumed to being sheep for their chosen party by others. Right or wrong, categorizing people is something we all do.

            I pick and choose the podcasts I listen to because I have limited time, but I was really interested to hear this one with a female perspective added in…partially because I was asked to do it many moons ago, and partially because I wanted to see how it went. I was apprehensive about doing it because I felt I’d be talked over and largely ignored. You and Steve have your debating down to a science. Adding a third party seemed like potential for disaster. I don’t think it was a disaster, but some of my assumptions were realized. In other words, I think it has potential (3 person debate format), but it needs work, and I’m rarely keen on being a guinea pig.

            1. bottomlesscoffee007

              I can understand your apprehension Heather.

              You are right in your synopsis, the whole right/left thing is outta control.

  4. Anonymous

    Hello Coffee,

    I appreciate the discussion and candied comments. I work in violence prevention and the more we collectively being these topics into the light the less they are allowed to fester and grow strength in the dark. When we show fear by being unwilling to discuss or ask questions we give power to the subject through fear-based reverence.

    I think Jackson Katz’s TED talk can help bring some clarity to your concerns regarding men vs women and in the subject of violence prevention. What an effective approach is trying to do is appeal to the majority good or the Amazon approach. If you order something from Amazon and it doesn’t arrive generally you can have it redelivered no questions. They are willing to do this because they know they generally people will do the right thing. Because most, not all, perpetrators of violence are men, other men hopefully, the majority of whom what to do the right thing, are often in a place to police the behavior and collectively institute cultural change and eventual transformation. In my work I seek to recruit as many men, usually women are already there, to uphold the goal of creating a culture of gender equity and respect. The most beautiful thing is when I can sit back in the discussion trusting the other males in the group to be leaders and call the statement of one out as unacceptable and they often do. It means 100% more coming from the peer group than it would ever coming from me as a female. This leadership also shows courage and vulnerability as it takes both of these qualities to speak up in a situation. These two qualities are essential to ending violence.

    I’d also like to say I agree wholeheartedly with you that our message should not be don’t rape. If it were that easy this crime would have been eliminated years ago. I always strive to avoid don’t statements because they tend to be narrow and viewed as negative. “Don’t rape,” puts off all those who aren’t committing sexual assault and only covers one action. It ignores all of the prevention behaviors that provide opportunities to stop harassment through to assault. You also loose the opportunity to halt someone who may be on the left end of the continuum of harm. (If you do a Google Image search the continuum will show up if you’re unfamiliar. I didn’t add a link because I couldn’t find an image not attached to a paper or article.) Almost all assault starts with the dehumanization required for harassment. If we speed past this side of the continuum you’re skipping places where prevention can be effective and going directly to response. Response is important but there is no change without preventative measures. Both are required.

    In the beginning of the conversation you expressed the very common view of how harassment is defined. The website Everyday Sexism Project may shed some light by sharing common experiences of discrimination from mostly women. The TED Radio Hours episode on Gender, Power and Fairness may do the same.
    As long as I’m suggesting homework you may want to watch the below videos. All were available on Netflix, if you have an account with them, last time I checked except The Invisible War, which was available for rent on Amazon.

    The Hunting Ground – about college assault
    The Invisiable War – about assault in the military
    Miss Representation – about women and media
    The Mask We Live In – about immature masculinity

    I hope that wasn’t too many rabbit holes. Again, thanks for hosting the discussion.

    1. bottomlesscoffee007

      Whoever you are, thank you for listening and for composing such a detailed response/comment. I opened everything simultaneously and suddenly someone began talking, took me a minute to realize that the podcast you had linked, automatically began to play on iTunes.

      I enjoy the conversation, as I too believe too many shy away from this and many other topics, which, like you said has the possibility of casting too large a shadow over all of us and we may be afraid to speak openly and candidly in mixed company. This is one of the major issues facing all of us in my mind. Everything begins and hopefully ends with communication. But the less we speak candidly with one another, it becomes easier and easier to feel malice and distrust between all of us.

      As far as violence towards women or men, I can say it is all possible for men to be the majority of the perpetrators, then again, why are we keeping score? Either everyone affected is counted or none at all. I think this is a major issue, where women and girls have all the resources and help available, yet for men and boys, the same support and resources are pathetically lacking. If you would like to see for yourself, a simple google search of men’s violence and abuse shelters would show that men have no where near the same support women have. Why is that not considered an issue? There seem to be more homeless shelters for men, than any violence or sex abuse shelters for men.

      You see, because that is how it always seems to play out. Like a competition, women are said to be the majority of victims/survivors, yet when it comes to men, suddenly we are counting and comparing. As if the numbers matter, men are not immune from violence and abuse or even sexual abuse.

      Hopefully we continue to speak about this, I know that every discussion that Kate, Steve and I get into, by the end of the episode, is hardly the end of the discussion.

      I think one of the biggest issues that gets in the way of confronting this on all sides is the very nature of discussion. Either men and women are counted together, or they are separated. If men, boys, women and girls were all lumped into one category, then perhaps more would be willing to help out. Until then, I get the feeling that many will continue to shy away, since they may believe that there is only one narrative and not many.

      If you listened to (Gillette Episode) that Steve and I did after this episode, you might have heard me talking about how I have been assaulted. Steve then asked how often that had happened to me, and then compared my experiences to that of women. You see, thats how it plays out. A man talks about his experiences being sexually assaulted, he is then told that women have it far worse, as if to say my experience really doesn’t count, at lest that is what I heard. Im sure that is not how Steve meant it, however, unfortunately, that is how men’s experiences are continually minimized. If we won’t be taken as seriously as women, then, are we really welcomed or not?

      Do people want men there, simply as muscle or as advocates and allies? If men don’t count, then why should women? If a woman or girl is to be believed, then shouldn’t a man or boy be believed as well?

    2. bottomlesscoffee007

      So, I just finished the Ted Talk. I must say, all I heard was how men need to change. See, that’s the problem, instead of focusing on each individual who commits these acts, so lazily, men and boys are blamed for the actions of a few.

      Speaking of abuse, what about the psychological abuse of boys and men? From jokes about penis size to body shaming and how women and girls so easily separate men and boys from acceptable to unacceptable to desired.

      Are women and girls perpetrators as well? If so, why do so many abstain from bringing this up? He spoke about Penn State and what took place there. Did Joe Paternos wife have no idea, what about any other women or girls. Was it solely men that knew and decided not to say anything?

      Why are women and girls the only ones counted? Is there any international organization dedicated to protecting men and boys? How much money is donated and spent to protect men and boys?

      Is it still acceptable to make jokes about men getting raped in prison?

    3. bottomlesscoffee007

      I just finished the NPR podcast.

      First, I must say, it seems that the founder of the #metoo movement is speaking about the same thing I am. She either felt or knew that no one wanted to hear what she had to say, when she was abused and raped. How is that any different from what I am talking about, when it comes to “the numbers of women compared to men”?

      I listened to the entire episode, I cannot remember who the second woman was. But again, are we concerned with all of the victims/survivors or are we just concerned about the female victims/survivors?

      I had another thought, since that Jack guy from the TED talk was also featured. He continually talked about targeting the non offenders in the hopes of extinguishing the offenders. That is exactly what I am talking about, the constant drive to slander and accuse all men and boys for the all the actions of female and male perpetrators. This will merely drive more away in my mind, however, I could be wrong, this is my inclination.

      Ashley Judd, honestly, she is the worst example and speaker for this movement. In my opinion, she is a phony and an opportunist.

      Why is it acceptable to target men and boys, why is it acceptable to single out misogyny, why is it acceptable to target patriarchy?

      If my arguments will be met with slander and zero support, then why should I support any of their arguments?

      We are either in this together, or not at all.

      I will get around to watching those movies/documentaries.

      Have you seen “The Red Pill”?

      Do you remember the naked Donald Trump statue that was on display once he was sworn in? He was naked, oafish and had a tiny penis. Why is the constant attack on men and boys encouraged and championed?

      Are men and boys meant to fight in the streets over women and their rights?

      Like I said, we are in this all together, if anyone aims to change or modify an “ideology” without taking in all aspects. Then it is merely an exercise in insanity.

      The lady who founded the #metoo movement, I can understand and relate. Since, my own experiences are met with cynicism and disbelief.

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