Well, we’ve come a long way Baby! At least in Manhattan. Certainly not in Paris where Tristane Banon, who was assaulted by Strauss-Kahn and nearly raped in 2003, is being excoriated in the French press for daring to file criminal charges against him. It’s as though many Frenchmen have never forgotten the monarchy and “droit du seigneur,” when the lord of an estate had the right to take the virginity of his serf-maidens.
There used to be a time here in New York when working women were regularly touched and fondled by men in the office, and these women had to take it in stride. That’s just the way it was. And if your boss wanted to sleep with you, and you didn’t, well, that was the end of your job. You didn’t bother telling anyone about it except maybe your girlfriend, who might have gone through the same thing.
Today it’s different. Men in corporations know that they could get into legal trouble if they touch women at work. The corporation could get sued; professors know that their students can get them suspended. Doctors can lose their license. Today, women and their daughters can feel safer in the workplace.
Nevertheless, these violations still occur and when they do, many women feel devastated. PARC is running a mutual support group for women who have experienced or are experiencing such transgressions in the workplace today. Call for information.
Got thoughts or opinions on this topic? A helpful anecdote you want to share? Feel free to leave a comment.