The Editor’s Desk: Harassment claims

Many women — including yours truly — have upsetting stories to tell. Listen to them.

Hi there! It’s your frequent questioner here. And you want to ask about the need to rake your leaves again? No problem; the Nature Conservancy of Canada, no less, has said that it’s actually a good idea to leave your leaves on the grass over the winter.

Well, actually, I wanted to talk about all these sexual harassment charges that are flying around. Okay; how can I help you?

What’s with all that? It seems that a lot of powerful guys have been exerting their power by sexually harassing—and in some cases allegedly raping—women, for reasons best known only to themselves (hint: “power”).

It sounds like almost every woman has a story to tell about being sexually harasses or abused. Many women do, from unwanted comments and touches to full-on assault. And it’s not just from powerful men who can help or harm their careers, either.

It sounds like you might have a story. Yes. Many years ago I was subjected to an unwanted sexual advance from a man I felt was a good (platonic) friend. We were both deeply involved in a society in Vancouver, and during a visit to his house for coffee one evening while his wife was away he felt the need to pin me to the couch and start to make forceful advances.

Wow. That must have been—upsetting. Yes, it was. Very much so.

What happened? When I rebuffed him he stopped, apologized profusely, and that was the end of it. Many other women have obviously not been so fortunate.

Are you sure you didn’t—send out signals or something, that he misinterpreted? Positive.

Okay; but can we ask him about this? No; he died several years ago. And by the way, why would you need to confirm this with him? If I said “My house was broken into,” would you need to get a second opinion before you believed me?

Well, no, but … innocent until proven guilty, you know. I quite agree. But when a woman comes forward and says in no uncertain terms “This happened to me,” you’re not being asked to sit as a juror; you’re being asked if you think what the woman is saying is plausible and credible. Hiding behind “innocent until proven guilty” is the same as saying “Unless/until the man in question is convicted in a court of law, I don’t believe you and what you’re alleging.” Which—to forestall your next question—is one of the reasons so many women don’t tell these stories at the time they happen.

Are there other reasons? Lots. See your question about sending out signals, which is one women who allege harassment or worse get thrown at them. They also get blame: “Well, you shouldn’t have worn that outfit/had a drink/been alone with him” and more, which dodges the whole “The guy shouldn’t have said/done what he did” aspect. Again, if I said my house was broken into, would you say it’s my fault for having nice things a burglar would want?

No. Exactly.

Sorry if I upset you. We’re good. And here’s a link to that piece about leaves, in case you don’t believe your luck:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Ashcroft under Boil Water Notice

High turbidity levels in the Thompson River have prompted the notice

Prescribed burns to take place around Lytton, Spences Bridge

BC Wildfire Service will only conduct burns if conditions permit

Flooding hits Highway 97 north of Cache Creek

Recent warm temperatures are causing an increase in flooding on area roads

Elizabeth May feels people are looking at the Green Party with new eyes

Green Party leader is hoping for a breakthrough for her party in the October federal election

Cache Creek Softball Association gears up for another season

Organizers are looking for people of all ages from throughout the area

VIDEO: The ‘most cosmopolitan’ of butterflies could migrate to B.C.

The painted lady butterfly will likely arrive this summer from Southern California

Is it a homicide? B.C. woman dies in hospital, seven months after being shot

Stepfather think Chilliwack case should now be a homicide, but IHIT has not confirmed anything

Indecent caller handed 18-month conditional sentence

Vancouver Island man pleaded guilty to making indecent phone and video calls to women across B.C.

Sources say Trudeau rejected Wilson-Raybould’s conservative pick for high court

Wilson-Raybould said Monday “there was no conflict between the PM and myself”

First Nations public art piece stolen in Nanaimo

Spindle Whorl went missing over the weekend, according to Nanaimo RCMP

Father-son duo at B.C. Children’s Hospital helps new dads fight depression

The pair teamed up to introduce the only known research-based mindfulness workshop for new dads

Mexican restaurant in B.C. told to take down Mexican flag

General manager of Primo’s Mexican Grill in White Rock: ‘I’ve never heard of anything like this’

B.C. NDP moves to provide tax credits, tax cut for LNG Canada

Provincial sales tax break of $596 million repayable after construction

COLUMN: Smart phone too powerful a tool to yank from students’ hands

Rather than ban them from schools, let’s teach kids to harness their phone’s power and use it properly

Most Read