実践ビジネス英語 2018/9/13 #実践ビジネス英語
13 木 Lesson11 Revamping Sexual Harassment Policy (6)
Our current vignette discusses sexual harassment in the workplace and how it often goes unreported. I hope you’ve never experienced that, Heather?
I never have. No. I’ve been extraordinary lucky in that regard. The Me-Too movement has highlighted lately just how widespread this problem still is around the world and it’s deeply unsettling. What about you, Mr. Sugita? Have you come across this in your career?
Yes. Unfortunately. At one point I worked in the Tokyo office of a multinational company where there were frequent guests from abroad. Some Western visitors regularly hugged or kissed the female Japanese staff, which by today’s standards clearly constituted sexual harassment and was often disdained by my female colleagues. They tended not to speak up, however, and rationalized such acts as “Western custom.”
It is not. Ugh. I wish I could have been there and tell them it’s not.
One such perpetrator tried the same approach with an American colleague while visiting the New York office – and immediately got his face slapped in plain view of the entire staff.
News like that travels fast internally and it was welcomed with silent applause in the Tokyo office. He lost a lot of face with that incident. I’m happy to say he behaved quite properly on his subsequent visits to Tokyo.
Well, I might say, “Kudos to the woman who slapped him.” The vignette says some women aren’t sure who to report sexual harassment to, or they don’t want to ruin the man’s career.
Another big problem, I think, is that women around the world are brought up to be “nice.”
We have to be sweet, gentle, non-aggressive, or we risk getting labeled with the b-word.
I think societies around the world have got to get over that, and make it acceptable for women to push back, literally and metaphorically. I’ve read, for example, that we shouldn’t force children, especially little girls, to accept unwanted hugs and other physical affection. If we make them kiss or hug someone when they don’t want to, we’re telling the child, “You don’t have control over your own body,” which can be a very dangerous message.
The vignette also mentions stories of women being ignored or retaliated against in cases of sexual harassment.
I can imagine how helpless and angry and frustrated that must make a person feel. Not only are they subjected to the first horrible experience and often it’s not an isolated incident.
Often there are multiple incidents of abuse. They’re made to feel like no one believes them or will help them. I remember reading about a journalist who said she was forcibly kissed by a very prominent man she interviewed. She said she told a former professor of hers about the incident at the time but decided after their conversation that it would be best not to say anything. The two of them felt it would be a he-said-she-said situation and the man would probably try to destroy her if she came forward. I’ve also heard of accusers’ personal information like phone numbers and addresses being revealed online and elsewhere.
Ueda asks about the line between acceptable and unacceptable behavior.
I’d say McMillan has the right approach. You can be complimentary but keep it short. There’s nothing wrong occasional “that’s a nice dress” or “your hair looks nice” like that. But leave it there. There’s no need for a monologue on the subject. And don’t compliment a woman just on things like that. Pay attention to our work too. We always like to be complimented on our minds.
The Me Too movement (or #MeToo movement) with many local / international alternatives is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. #MeToo spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag used on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace.
B-word” that are in common use (swear-words such as “bloody”, “bastard”, “bugger”)
A euphemism for any of various taboo words beginning with B.
(add examples here for “bastard”, “bitch”, or whatever are the commonest usages)
“the B-word” can stand for any word beginning with B that is considered taboo in a particular context.
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