'He has status and position while the victim he targets has little or none.' As we see the stories of sexual harassment unfolding in the media, we can't help but notice the truth to that statement.
Sexual harassment is premeditated, and perpetrated by someone who knows exactly what they are doing. Harassers take time to evaluate who they are going to go after, how they are going to go after them, and what they can do to keep them silent.
The issue is not about educating these men so they do not do it; that will not change them. The issue is supporting the people they target, and creating an environment where this behavior is absolutely not tolerated.
Why are Reports of Sexual Harassment Taking Place Now?
"Why didn’t they not come forward at the time?" "Why did they wait years to disclose this?"
These are statements skeptics use to cast doubt on the accuser. They're also words frequently heard by people close to perpetrators. Friends, co-workers and acquaintances express shock and disbelief when confronted by the news of someone they know being charged with sexual harassment. Too frequently these bystanders disparage the accuser.
"Sexual harassment and sexual assault are about power and control. One person exerting power over another."
The power is acquired by job classification and status. Matt Lauer had status and due to his position, power over others of a lesser classification. It is rare for harassment to occur between people of equal status. Can you imagine Charlie Rose of ABC News harassing his boss? No. It would be unlikely that any of the recent personalities charged with harassment and assault would have attempted these behaviors with someone who had equal status or power over them.
Who Commits Sexual Assault?
Keep in mind the profile of a person who commits sexual assault, harassment, or violence. 'He has status and position, while the victim he targets has little or none.' The victims stay silent on the issue for several reasons. Often they are confused, and made to feel responsible by his manipulations; sometimes they are threatened with a consequence if they disclose the misconduct which may be career related, or of a personal nature. He may threaten the victim by convincing them no one will believe them. Regardless of why, the victims of sexual harassment usually suffer in silence while the perpetrator repeats this behavior again and again until stopped. But know this: His behavior is a function of his choices.
Though the term profiling is not acceptable by some, there are common denominators that can't be ignored which help us understand who these celebrity harasser/rapists are, and how they do it. They are generally well liked; real “Nice Guys”. They are often chameleons: on the outside they appear respectful, intelligent, always saying the right things, yet beneath this guise is the person who feels superior and entitled. They follow a well-established pattern of behavior. Don't let these socially acceptable behaviors fool you, and don't let them be a justification for their sexual misconducts. If you are uncomfortable, say something.
When Does Sexual Harassment Take Place?
A perpetrator first selects a target that he believes will be flattered by his attention, and who is of a lesser status. He evaluates them to see if they are open to his flattery. Do they confront behavior that is uncomfortable, or do they keep quiet? If quieted through this subtle intimidation, he will continue to be flattering and nice, while escalating his testing behaviors until a point is reached where he will either stop and select someone else, or he will cross the line to behavior that is clearly harassment or assault. Once the line is crossed, this “Nice Guy” will typically continue the behavior until he finds someone else to conquer.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual harassment, speak out. There is a good amount of support these days. You are not alone. Don't let the perpetrator be allowed to move on to his next victim.
Contact us today to find out more about our stance on sexual assault, and harassment as well as our cutting edge prevention programs.