And now county jail systems. Sexual harassment has affected both public and private spaces as the #MeToo movement continues to roll forward.
Importantly, it isn’t that there have been more instances of harassment. It is that women, and men, are now more confident that reporting such instances will actually accomplish something. Finally, even though it has become so familiar and so common, sexual harassment is no longer acceptable behavior.
Reporting isn’t the only objective, though. As a community, we also need to work on prevention and accountability. As far as accountability, we have a long way to go.
Take, for instance, the Davis County corrections office. On Monday, Mariah Noble for The Salt Lake Tribune reported on an investigation into three corrections employees who had been “relentless” with their “unwanted and inappropriate advances toward young, female co-workers.”
Not only did these three employees feel free to sexually harass women, but their supervisors failed to investigate their behavior when reported. The investigation resulted in one deputy’s resignation, a few days off without pay for the other two and demotions for their supervisors.
Whatever happened to being terminated for cause, when there is actually a really good cause? Are we such a society of snowflakes that we allow bad actors to shield themselves from the consequences of their own actions?
Or do we just not care about women?
The women involved didn’t fare as well as these employees did. They had to endure repeated, unwanted calls and messages, nonconsensual hugging, grabbed buttocks and frequent sexual advances. One woman quit because of the hostile environment.
These men who harassed young, female employees, known as “the creepers,” felt free to do so because despite frequent complaints, there were no repercussions. Other employees had to warn new, female employees to stay away from them.
One of the creepers justified his behavior by saying it was just his sense of humor and a coping mechanism. This same employee allegedly masturbated into a cup and gave it to a female co-worker to drink as her “daily shot of protein.”
But with only a few days off as a penalty, they're likely to continue their perverted behavior.
In April, the Pew Research Center released a report saying that since the #MeToo movement, more men than women think the workplace has become a harder place to work.
It hasn’t. The workplace has become a harder place to sexually harass women. And that’s a good thing.