I believe Christine Blasey-Ford. I believe Deborah Ramirez. I believe the dozens of women that were assaulted by Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Bill Cosby and Donald Trump. I know that sexual harassment and assault are horrific, underreported and far more pervasive than most of us know.
I also have questions.
I wonder if I have ever made a female classmate or coworker feel uncomfortable by my comments or actions in the past?
I question if any of my female reports at work have felt cajoled or compelled to attend a client event due to power inequities? Did they feel pressured to attend or stay because I was there? Did they enjoy the event or just put on a happy face for my benefit?
I ask whether I have different expectations between men and women at work as far as assignments, demeanor and roles?
I wonder if when I asked my female mentee to drinks quarterly she felt uncomfortable?
I wonder now if I am depriving women of opportunities because I am less likely to invite them to lunch, drinks or dinner than my male colleagues for fear that it might be taken the wrong way?
I wonder if I am distancing myself from female coworkers in a way that is not best for my company, our productivity or for our mutual success?
I question whether my working relationships with women – including lunches and drinks – caused others to doubt their talent or the validity of their success?
I question whether I am wrong for believing that some women accusing men of sexual harassment or assault are not being truthful and rather are doing so for retribution or financial gain?
I worry that too many women who have faced such harassment and assault will continue to remain silent.
I also worry that my career could be permanently altered or destroyed by a woman accusing me of harassment or assault – even if it were not true.
I question whether I have been properly receptive and supportive of female friends and family members who have been victims – or whether something in my words or actions caused them to not share their experiences with me?
I worry about my sons and the risk that they could one day be accused. I worry about the damage to them if those accusations are false. I also pray that they never do anything that could make such accusations be true.
I question how many times I have made a comment, or stood silent in the face of statements or actions that made a woman feel uncomfortable?
And I worry that in too many instances – there were comments or actions that did not even register for me as being inappropriate, uncomfortable or offensive..
I have all of these questions. Too many questions. And not enough answers.
Guest Blogger: RandiB.net
My intention is for Black people to love themselves and each other. It sounds somewhat silly, I guess; but oftentimes my people are overwhelmed with negative images, bad news, and stereotyped characters about us. I’d like to flip that script. I’d like to remind us, as often as I can, how incredible we are. Read more