Friday, November 10, 2017

Exposing Sexual Harassment & Collateral Damage

As a woman who began her career at a time when it was a man’s world and the men in my department made bets on how quickly they could get me to quit, I can state unequivocally that I have grit, determination, an open mind, an understanding of the learning curve, and an appreciation of progress not perfection. 

The recent press disclosures that have identified numerous powerful men of all political affiliations as hound dogs that allegedly propositioned, offended, groped, discriminated against, held back, threatened, manipulated, coerced, investigated, tormented, denigrated, defamed, or generally disregard women within their sphere of influence has satin motion a witch hunt that could entrap innocent individuals who are tainted by association.

I believe in due process, the proposition that in America an individual is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. One only need look at history to see examples of people who were tarred & feathered, subjected to vigilanteism, wrongfully accused, inappropriately convicted, sentenced and executed, or just plain destroyed by “evidence” that later  was discovered to be maliciously manufactured, flawed,or mistaken. I have been raised to believe in justice. I refuse to let go of that belief in fairness - not a reallocation justice based upon passed collective wrongs, nor a redistribution of wealth based upon socialist theory, or giving unfair advantage to any individual or group.

America was founded on the principle, no matter how flawed during its infancy, that we are all created equal under the law. While the practice as not evenly applied during the formative years of the country, that is the ultimate intent of our Constitution. Providing restitution for the sins of the fathers does not eradicate the wrongs committed either individually or institutionally in the past. However, we have come a long way and it is no more fair to suppress the opportunity of a class of citizens today than it was 25, 50, 100, 150 or 200 years ago. 

The rush to judge has resulted in restaurants, media productions, and other small businesses to shut down because one of the figureheads has been accused of malfeasance. In most instances the individual under scrutiny is a wealthy individual who can withstand the financial impact. However, few consider the collateral damage to the assistants, subordinates, peers, worker bees, or general public from the backlash. As an example, Kevin Spacey can easily absorb the loss of income from his firing from House of Cards. But what about the production assistants, other actors, drivers, engineers, walk ons, or support personnel that have lost an opportunity for income, recognition, or residuals from rebroadcast. If a restaurant is closed down because a civil rights activists accuses the owners of discrimination, the lessor loses rent, the serving staff loses a job, the chef and kitchen workers have no income, the business managers lose income, and those suffering discrimination lose their underpaid jobs and may have problems finding another. That is why I have disdain for self righteous do-gooders who hang photos on the walls of their law offices and NGOs praising their accomplishments while blithely ignoring the harm they do. Collateral damage is a consideration that should not be ignored!

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