All Articles Tagged "sexual harrassment"
A Facebook page that degraded female troops in the Marine Corps was removed yesterday after California House Representative Jackie Speire complained to the Pentagon. Speire sent a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and also addressed Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos.
Speire has recently put pressure on the pentagon to take more action with sexual harassment cases and wrote in her letter, “I am confident that if you reviewed the contents of this webpage that you would be horrified by the culture of misogyny and sexual harassment depicted on the web site.” She also wrote that the Marine Corps inspector general has been aware of the site and monitoring it for over three years.
A statement was released on behalf of the Marine Corps by Captain Eric Flanagan showing that the Marine Corps appears to be taking the Facebook issue seriously stating, “Marines are responsible for all content they publish on social networking sites, blogs, or other websites. There is no tolerance for discriminatory comments. It goes against good order and discipline.”
No one knows who created the page or has been managing it to date, and even as the existence of the page was being threatened, inflammatory comments were being posted about Representative Speire, calling her vulgar names and threatening her for causing the page to be shut down.
This week the military has been getting lots of attention due to a report released by the Pentagon estimating that 26,000 troops had been sexually abused in 2012, up by 35 percent since the last survey was conducted in 2010. The removal of this Facebook page seems to be one step in the right direction, but there is certainly more to do.
“Why Ya’ll Always Look So Mean?” How Years Of Being Ogled At And Macked On By Aggressive Men Can Turn A Woman Off–Even To A Good Man
While out for drinks this past weekend with my boyfriend and his friends, we were all sitting together in a circle, talking about a little bit of everything, including the gun control debate, dating, interracial dating, and the habits of women that men don’t like. To be specific, the alleged habits of black women that some black men aren’t too fond of. While talking about this, a friend brought up the fact that often when he rides public transportation or walks the street and sees a beautiful black woman, he’ll send a glance her way and even a smile. However, he lamented over the fact that the reaction he receives is anything but flattered or remotely positive.
“If I show interest in a sista and look her way, she always looks back all angry or like she has an attitude. Why ya’ll always look so mean?? I never get that type of reaction from other women! But don’t get me wrong, I prefer a sista over everybody else.”
The other black men out with us at the time seemed to agree, with one declaring that, “Some of ya’ll need to accept the fact that you’re angry. Everywhere I’ve been I’ve encountered it. Not all of you, but a lot of you just seem to have a chip on your shoulder for no reason.”
That part of the conversation I had to jump in on, and if you were wondering, NO, I wasn’t angry or defensive in my response. While I can’t answer to why some of us seem to carry a lot of anger with us (Let’s not front. I’ve seen enough unnecessary confrontations on public transportation, while working in customer service and from my own friends and family to know some of us are indeed “angry”), when it comes to the less than stellar response some men receive from us in their attempts to “holla,” the looks they get or the feelings we have at that moment definitely have a back-story.
I’ve had a decently attractive man or two try and stare me down on public transportation, and I guess they thought I was supposed to get all geeked up, run over, introduce myself and that a connection was going to blossom. Uh, no. While I won’t be ugly with my response or reactions, sometimes I might even smirk back if we met eyes on accident, I often look away quickly, and if they are indeed still looking at me minutes later, maybe then they’ll receive the stink eye. I’m not a fan of mack daddy pick up lines when I’m out, I don’t take too kindly to strange men hovering over me to get my number at the laundromat while I try to discreetly separate my colored panties from my clothes that need to air dry. I’m not overjoyed by someone gawking at me in a crowded bar and then not having anything nice, funny or even educated to say when they finally step up and approach me. For myself, why I might “look mean” when a man tries to get my attention with creepy stares and lines is because I’ve spent a majority of my young life hearing that mess from strange men on the regular, especially on the streets when I wasn’t planning on or trying to hear it at all.
While I can’t testify to what young white women, Asian women, Indian women and more go through, when many young black women reach puberty, they become almost like prey. Once those boobs come in, that butt perks up and that period make its arrival, the innocent young girl that many men might see before becomes the young lady they’d like to do a little somethin’ somethin’ with. Let the summer come and you decide to wear some shorts, something that shows off your legs and keeps you from feeling as though you’re going to fry in the sun, and men standing on the street, driving around your neighborhood or moving about in general, black men that is, will have a thousand and one things to say. At first, you might be bothered, some might even be flattered because they’re new to it all, but as you get older and continuously deal with this mess, even at the crack of dawn when you’re on your way to work minding your business (why are ya’ll already out at 7 a.m.!?), you try and find ways to ignore it. Whether that means keeping headphones in all the time, saying “NO thank you” the minute a man’s mouth opens or walking on the opposite side of the street, trying to avoid aggressive men who clearly don’t want to get to know you for the right reasons becomes a second full-time job.
At the age of 12, dressed like a tacky pre-teen and not even showing off what I was working with, I went with my family to Nigeria for the first time and truly experienced this type of discomfort for the first time. Walking around with my sisters or even my mother, men who looked like they could be friends of my father pursed and smacked their lips at me, grabbed my arm at the market and tried to flirt with me, to my sheer horror. It took my dad, mother or brother to step in and say, ‘EXCUSE ME, She’s only 12 for God’s sake” for them to back off. And even as a grown woman now, living in NYC, it can be just as bad. The one time I walked to the train to go on a date with my boyfriend WITHOUT my headphones on, a young man told me I looked beautiful, and when I said “Thank you,” his friend added in, yelling down the street “And you’ve got some nice ti**ies too.”
So you’ll have to excuse me if I don’t feel any sympathy for a man who claims to be pissed that black women rebuff his indirect advances. Sorry, but it’s hard to tell who is serious and who is just looking for a good time when a majority of the time we’re made into sexual objects by a stranger. Many young black men (and even the older ones) can be very aggressive, and while a white woman, or Asian woman or Indian woman might fall for the stop, smile and stare (probably because they haven’t grown up with so many brothas), for a black woman, you’re really going to need to do a LOT better than that. Be straightforward. Be humorous. Hell, a helpful man who helps me with my heavy groceries down the street is even nice. But all in all, come correct. Because we’ve seen and heard all of it before, probably since we were in middle school, and at this point, the “HEY GIRL!” smacked lips, ogling and stares are not attractive as much as they’re just annoying.
Middle school can be a tough time for any child but school administrators are supposed to be there to step in, in case things get too far out of hand. But unfortunately, for Tammie Jackson and her 13 year old daughter that was not the case.
Tammie Jackson, of St Louis County, Missouri, said that her 13 year old daughter Gabrielle has been experiencing sexual harassment because of the size of her breasts. When Tammie called the school district to inform them of the issue, instead of looking into the issue, having a conversation with the students in question, they suggested that Tammie get her daughter a breast reduction.
Once the news hit, the school claimed they’re investigating the issue and were going to provide counseling for students who are undergoing bullying issues.
But still for Tammie, the initial response she received was inappropriate, “Talk with the kids. Let them know people’s bodies are changing, everybody is different, but God made us all great.”
A breast reduction, huh? At thirteen? As women, our bodies aren’t even done growing at thirteen. What legit surgeon would take her on as a patient? The suggestion is not only ridiculous, it’s unhealthy, both emotionally and physically if she were to decide to actually go through with it. I hope the school rectifies this situation but really it’s not all that surprising to me. After all, this is America where misogynist attitudes reign. This suggestion of getting a breast reduction is right along in the same vein with people, men and women alike, blaming involuntary sex victims.
How do you think the school should have handled this situation? If this were your daughter what would you have done at this very inappropriate, very insensitive suggestion?
You’re a sophomore in college. It’s your second semester and your schedule finally has room to take an elective or two. Your older friends have told you that you can take a human sexuality course. So for an hour and a half every other day you get to talk about sex and get college credit for it. (Sweet!) Of course you register. On the first day of class, in a big auditorium full of people, your new professor hands you the syllabus along with a waiver. The waiver says that you’re going to be presented with some graphic content throughout the duration of the course. It’s human sexuality, that’s to be expected. So you sign the waiver, thinking nothing of it. Then, a couple of classes later, your professor gives you an assignment: “A Sexual Case Study…You!”
It’s an essay. In order for you to get a passing grade you’ll have to record your masturbatory activity, keep a sex journal, which will be subject to class discussion, and share personal details of your sexual history, including sexual abuse.
Hold up, what?!
This all may seem outrageous but according to Karen Royce, a student at Western Nevada College, this is the assignment her human sexuality professor, Tom Kubistant, gave she and the rest of her classmates. When Karen went to express her reservations about it, Kubistant dismissed her concerns. She then took it to the department head and eventually the college president, claiming that the assignment was intrusive and a form of sexual harassment. When they didn’t find fault with Kubistant’s assignment, she filed a suit with the U.S. District Court of Nevada.
The court also found that Kubistant’s assignment did not represent any type of sexual harassment. But Karen, who dropped the course after just four classes, plans to take her case to the federal level.
It could take up to a year until a verdict is decided on this but that just means it gives us more time to discuss the nature of such an assignment.
Usually, I’m one of those people who believes that Americans, and specifically black people, can be a little too conservative when it comes to just talking about sex. The minute the topic comes up, usually in hushed tones, there’s always someone to write something off as “nasty” or judge someone for what they do or don’t do. I’m the person who has always been comfortable speaking about my sexuality with my friends and family.
That being said though, I’ve never been forced to do so…in public settings. Requiring not only that your students masturbate, record sexual experiences, including sexual trauma, that may or may not be shared with the class, is way too much. Sure a human sexuality class is supposed to encourage dialogue about sex and sexual experiences. But the key word is encourage, not coerce. Whether you feel the need to speak about your sexuality or you’d rather keep it to yourself, that’s a right you have. And it’s a right this professor seems to be infringing upon.
I can’t say whether or not this assignment represents a form of sexual harassment because it’s only an elective and students always have the option of dropping the course, like Karen did; but if I were a university official, I would certainly make sure that this “case study” wasn’t on next year’s syllabus because the slope is too slippery. And furthermore what lessons are there to be learned by knowing your classmates’ sexual escapades, masturbation schedules and history of sexual abuse? Can’t they just take an anonymous poll or survey for that? Why do private matters have to be open for the professor’s consumption and public discussion?
I guess you can say Kubistant and his assignment are indicative of the times we live in. In the days of Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc, everybody’s always over-sharing. But in this instance, it’s ok to keep things to yourself. Because even the thought that your college professor might be using your sex life to get off, is more creepy than a little bit.
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Paula Deen is loved by many for her down home southern cooking but a former general manager at Paula’s Savannah restaurant says there’s some shady business cooking in the kitchen.
Lisa Jackson filed a lawsuit in the Chatham County Superior Court claiming her physician encouraged her to quit working at Uncle Bubba’s Seafood and Oyster House because of panic attacks she was suffering due to the stress of the job. Lisa says sexual remarks made by Paula’s brother, Bubba Hiers, who co-owns the restaurant with his sister, and racial slurs made by both Paula and Bubba were the cause of her stress. She also claims to have witnessed Bubba violently shake a black employee and says Paula invited the man to her home to smooth things over rather than address her brother’s behavior which created an environment of intimidation.
In addition to racially insensitive remarks, Lisa, who is white, claims black staff had to enter the restaurant through a back entrance, and that they were forbidden to use a customer restroom that white staffers were allowed to use. As for the sexual harassment claim, Lisa says Bubba kept making unwanted advances and also watched pornography in the office they shared. She says he also distributed pictures of two women having sex at an office meeting and complained about heavier staff members.
In the most shocking allegation, the complaint states that in 2007 Lisa asked what the attire for a catered event should be and Paula responded:
“Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n***ers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around… Now, that would be a true Southern wedding wouldn’t it? But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”
Wow. Lisa was hired at the seafood restaurant in 2005 but she says she reached her breaking point in 2010 when Bubba supposedly grabbed her face during a dinner for vendors at the restaurant and said “I love you,” then later screamed at her and spit in her face. A few days later she quit her job after her doctor told her it would significantly improve her health. Despite having been gone from the job for more than a year, she states in the lawsuit that she “continues to endure immense pain and has suffered greatly at the hands of Defendants’ outrageous and intolerable conduct.”
I wonder how Paula’s going to explain this one.
Does it sound like Lisa Jackson has a case?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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(Guardian) — Herman Cain, one of the frontrunners in the Republican race for the White House, faces more questions over allegations of sexual harassment after making contradictory comments within the space of just a few hours. He dismissed allegations of sexual harassment against him as a “witch hunt” but failed to quell the clamour that grew during Monday.
Over the course of two public appearances before the media and a series of television interviews on Monday, Cain went from initially saying he was unaware of any of the women receiving settlements over the claims to later admitting there had been a settlement.
Herman Cain is in the news daily for saying or doing something foolish. Today he is claiming that he was unaware of the cash settlement NBC News confirmed was paid to a woman after she complained Cain sexually harassed her. It seems quite odd that Cain, being the chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association would not be aware that a settlement from the association was paid to the woman, but as NBC points out, Cain only said was unaware of any settlement; he didn’t deny it that it occured.
Cain denied awareness of the settlement on Fox news this morning, saying that he was “falsely accused.” He vehemently reiterated, “I have never sexually harassed anyone, anyone,” and “absolutely, these are false accusations.” As Hamlet is so famously paraphrased: “Methinks thou dost protest too much.”
In support of Herman Cain, insane right-wing pundit Ann Coulter called the media report on the settlement a “high-tech lynching.” Oh really? That is the same line Clarence Thomas bandied about when faced with harassment accusations back in the ’80s. It’s one thing for a black man to say this, but now white women on the right are pulling the race card? How times have changed.
What do you think? Is Cain guilty of sexually harassing the woman and then paying her off? His claims of denial seem pretty flimsy.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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(Wall Street Journal) — A congressional ethics panel is investigating allegations that Florida Democratic Rep. Alcee Hastings sexually harassed a member of his staff, according to people familiar with the matter. The investigation of Mr. Hastings is being conducted by the Office of Congressional Ethics, the House’s independent ethics investigative arm, and it is at a preliminary stage. It began at least a month ago after Judicial Watch, a conservative group, filed a lawsuit as the legal counsel for Winsome Packer, a staffer on a commission Mr. Hastings headed. She alleged that she had been sexually harassed by the congressman and that he retaliated when she tried to report it. At the time, Mr. Hastings was chairman of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, a group set up in the 1970s to monitor a Cold-War era pact. Ms. Packer, a Republican, also worked for the commission. Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch, said his organization has been contacted by House investigators. “We can confirm that Ms. Packer is cooperating with the Office of Congressional Ethics,” he said.
(Afro) — Congressional Black Caucus member Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) is under fire after one of his former employees accused him of sexual harassment. Winsome Packer, a former staff member of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation filed suit in federal court on March 9 against Hastings, the commission and its director, Fred Turner, according to the Court News Service. Packer in her suit alleged discrimination, retaliation and sexual harassment.
“Mr. Hastings intention was crystal clear: he was sexually attracted to Ms. Packer, wanted a sexual relationship with her, and would help progress her career if she acquiesced to his sexual advances,” the complaint read, according to Court News. Packer, a Republican, said she lost her job with the House Committee on Homeland Security in 2006 after Democrats took control of Congress. After she accepted a position at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe from Hastings, Packer alleged that he offered her a more prestigious position after a few months. She claims that he would often tell her that he wanted to stay with her in her apartment. Hastings was co-chairman of the commission in the 111th Congress.