In recent years and especially since the beginning of the #MeToo movement, the issue of sexual harassment and sexual violence has risen to the spotlight.
Wikipedia defines sexual harassment as "...actions [that] may include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature, or the creation of a hostile working environment."
As more and more women enter the workforce as full-time employees, there have been significant upticks in the number of complaints about sexual harassment and sexual violence. (Although the issue is pervasive in schools, hospitals and houses of worship, and is not limited exclusively to these places.)
In the United States, sexual harassment has been a prevalent societal issue since the late 1800's when women started entering the workforce in large numbers, especially in fields such as manufacturing or education, previously dominated by men. Over 130 years has elapsed since this issue was brought to public spectre for debate, however, remains unsolved.
It's also important to note that as motion-pictures and social imaging became a dominant social force in modern society, male and female societal roles were defined, redefined and eventually somewhat solidified as society molded to meet the examples that were provided on and off-screen.
In my opinion, it's not surprising that the #MeToo movement started gaining traction in Hollywood and expanded into various fields where men and women interact on a day-to-day basis, including into politics where political favors and hostile working environments are the norm rather than the exception.
My Verbling student recently brought up the issue of sexual harassment on public transportation, which according to many contemporary reports and accounts is quite common in both developing and developed nations.
The student shared an interesting article (as well as the personal experience of a close family member) about a high school student that decided to take a stand against unwanted touching and groping on the train to school, rather than allowing repeated abuse to continue unabated.
In the case of sexual harassment on public transportation, the perpetrator does not have any relation to the victim and, ironically, the police often take a 'hands-off' approach to dealing with the situation and the perpetrator, unless there is evidence to show that the victim has a relation to the perpetrator, i.e., being stalked or threatened by a family member or coworker.
Please note that this topic is extremely sensitive and is an on-going issue in society.
However, I think that if my student had the courage to bring it up as an important social issue during our lesson, then I also ought to have the courage to bring it up to the Verbling community for further discussion.
What is the general sentiment about sexual harassment in your country?
How does the issue of sexual harassment affect social relations in schools, the office or other areas?
Do you believe that law enforcement is doing enough to enforce existing laws against sexual harassment and violence?
How can laws be amended to provide greater protection from unwanted sexual advances in public and private?
What types of policies can be enacted to reduce sexual harassment and violence?
All comments, thoughts and ideas on the topic are welcome, however, please keep all comments polite, respectful and in compliance with Verbling policy.
I must emphasize that any inappropriate or disrespectful comments will be immediately removed from discussion and reported to Verbling for further action.