When flirting turns to harassment
Received Dec. 15
Brava to Carolyn Abbott for her Dec. 14 letter regarding sexual harassment!
Her statement that harassment is part of a woman’s life from an early age struck a chord (no pun intended). As a piano major at the University of Utah in the 60s, I frequently practiced in the basement of the music building, where the practice rooms were located.
Unfortunately, the offices of the university radio station, KUER, were also located there. One of its more unsavory employees discovered that all those young co-eds were just too tempting to be ignored and regularly went from room to room with the line that the passion of our playing would be greatly improved were they to have an affair, preferably with him.
Mostly he was just an annoyance to be sent packing, as he had no power or control over me. But what if he had been my piano teacher? Or my music history or counterpoint professor, with the power to affect my grades?
That is the breaking point where simply annoying flirtation turns to harassment.
Harvey Weinstein controlling actresses’ careers, Roy Moore chasing innocent underage girls, Matt Lauer with power over an aspiring young TV journalist’s network promotion.
Unlike Ms. Abbott, I was thankfully never subjected to that kind of abuse, just to a slight annoyance. We can only hope that men will begin to see the light and stop wielding their power over women, or men, to elicit sexual favors.
(Word count: 241)