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#MeToo: Tipping point, or outrage du jour?

Kathleen Parker on

It turns out I was also, according to Carlson, part of the problem. (You learn something new every day.) Next I told her that I had never been sexually harassed, then proceeded to relate at least two incidents in my adult working life that were textbook sexual harassment. I simply hadn't recognized them as such.

Indeed, I did what most women do. I shrugged them off and stashed the experiences so deeply in my psyche's Junk folder that I forgot about them -- until now. #MeToo.

Cases such as Carlson's -- Ailes kept pushing her for sex so that she would "be good and better" -- were more clear-cut than mine. One incident was hands-on, but the other, a series of episodes in the early 1990s, was environmental. Strippers were brought in to our intimate public-relations office to perform for executives' birthday parties. I was told I could stay home those days, which I did, but then the CEO would call a meeting and show a video of the striptease on a large screen while my boss and a half-dozen male colleagues laughed.

It wasn't fun or funny.

Sexual harassment doesn't always mean a sexual advance, as Carlson pointed out. It's about power through sexual intimidation. Surely, women have a right to live and work without this predatory threat. If enough fathers care about their daughters' future success; if enough brothers care about their sisters' safety; if enough women care enough about each other, #MeToo -- or #BeFierce -- won't be just another hashtag.

And as long as Trump is considered one of the greatest offenders by so many women, this moment won't likely be just another bad day at the beach.

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Kathleen Parker's email address is kathleenparker@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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