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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.

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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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