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Women should "just deal" with sexual harassment?

April 28, 2010

New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams asserted yesterday that, when facing sexual harassment, women should "just deal with it." Citing New York 1 reporter Adele Sammarco, who recently lost her sexual harassment case against network execs, Adams wrote: "Calling a lawyer to say, 'I'm suing because this guy laid his hands on me'? Oh, please, if that's his only part he laid on you, get some nail extensions and inform Larry Lothario next time you'll rake him like the leaves." In an article on Adams's column, The Huffington Post quotes WMC President Jehmu Greene, who highlights the need for greater awareness of sexual harassment, and the fact that Adams displays a disconcertingly archaic attitude: "The author is blurring the lines between sexual harassment and sexual assault, when in fact one often leads to the other. There is no "right way" to handle sexual harassment or assault, but discouraging women from reporting those crimes is clearly archaic and deflects responsibility from the perpetrators. The under-reporting of sexual harassment and assault promotes an atmosphere of fear rather than of open dialogue about the issues. We should be focusing on the empowerment of women through programs like HollabackNYC which encourages women to identify their assailants, rather than regressing to a 'just deal with it' attitude that disrespects and undermines the strides we have made in recent decades." Although Adams describes assault she experienced personally, saying of each incident, "I still remember his name," their lasting impact doesn't seem to influence how necessary she feels it is to combat sexual harassment and assault. Adams is haunted by her experiences, but doesn't deem them worthy of more than a shrug by other women. Read the full piece at Huffington Post here.
Tags: Media