It was meant as irony more than sarcasm. Too many of the men I know still

  • think the real abusers are the women who hold them to such a high standard that they can no longer freely make penis and boob jokes in the office or give a friendly pinch to a woman’s ass as a compliment to her shapeliness, or
  • say to each other, “I wish she’d harass me.”

The truth is that harassment comes in many forms, not just sexual, and it’s difficult for men to complain, especially in a power structure dominated by women who think only men can be abusers. This frequently happens in non-profits and educational institutions.

The sad irony is that men who complain about sexual harassment by their supervisors are perceived as being weak, or laughed off as delusional because so few people understand that sexual abuse and harassment is about power and the perception of power and not sex. The same goes for gay men who are harassed by male bosses.

Male employers who abuse women will also target their male employees but with other weapons (verbal abuse, intimidation, freezing them out of the chain of communication, etc.).

It’s not about sex and it never was.

This doesn’t begin to address the serious question of due process. There are and will be false accusations, and we have to maintain clear and consistent standards for evaluating complaints that have nothing to do with our political leanings or how we feel about the accused.

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Living metaphor. Follow me @stephens_pt.

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