Don’t make the exception the rule, men and harassment

(I am reposting this.  I’ve also retitled it. It bears repeating. Especially seeing as this is a story that continues to grow. )

A part of me feels sorry for men in today’s world.


Not the abusers. Not the harassers. Not the jerks or the bullies.

What with all the nasty news these past few weeks as a number of men have been accused (most, rightly so) of exactly that, one would think these few men represent all men.

Not so. We need to be careful that we don’t make the exception, the rule.

I’ve talked to a number of women these past few weeks and all of them said the men they personally know are gentlemen. I can truthfully say that I do not know any man who acts or would act like these men that have made the news.

Most men are decent and well-mannered. 


I was talking to my husband tonight and he said he’s talked some men who are genuinely nervous. They don’t know what they’re supposed to say or how they’re supposed to act toward women anymore. They know what the parameters were, but now it seems the boundaries have changed but no one has told them. 

Is this fair to anyone?

I’m a strong supporter of women’s right to live, work, and be free of worry about such things. But I am also a strong supporter of men who shouldn’t have to worry that every innocent word or innocent act can be misconstrued and labeled as something offensive.

Physical assault and rape are wrong.

Harassment is wrong.

Gender discrimination is wrong.


No debate.

Men who commit these acts should be held accountable. They need to suffer the consequences of their actions. The law should protect anyone from any kind of abuse and harassment.

But I know the difference between a jerk and a gentleman, don’t you? Is it really that hard?

Besides, over the past couple of decades, the lines have become “blurred”. (Please read the next few lines carefully. 

Women now tell bawdy jokes openly in the workplace and at times their language has degenerated to a level previously ascribed to men. Perhaps it’s an attempt at equality. I don ‘t see it that way.

Even how women dress has in some cases become overtly sexual. Now, don’t go throwing something at your screen. NOTHING justifies harassment and assault. But perhaps a return to certain standards of decency in dress and speech may offer a degree of protection. Doesn’t some of this stop and start with women? Every woman I’ve talked to has said the same thing but no one dares say it out loud for fear of recrimination.

I don’t think that’s right. Why can’t we suggest that women have made some poor choices themselves? I mean, any woman over the age of twenty-one should know enough NOT to go to a man’s hotel room alone.

President Pence was ridiculed during his campaign for his comment about saying he would not have dinner alone with a woman other than his wife. Considering recent events though, and even without those, his stance protects both parties. Even pastors now make sure they are not alone with a woman in their office;  they leave the door open.

I was once put in an awkward position myself.

When I was a young woman living in Chicago, I went to lunch with a male co-worker. We were friends at work. I knew he was engaged. He knew I knew he was engaged so everything was very open. I thought of him as a brother. I thought it was just a quick lunch in a public place. However, he made it clear that day that he’d like to take our friendship to another level and his fiancée wouldn’t have to know!

I about choked on my sandwich. I’d never been “propositioned” before.

As I recall, I laughed. First, I told him I was Christian which I assumed made the situation clear. But to further emphasize my response I also told him that even if I weren’t, there was still no chance.

I walked out. I never suffered any recrimination.

In light of today’s standards, what would I call that? He was older. His place in the company was a few levels higher than mine. But I felt it was up to me to handle it, right then and right there. It never occurred to me to worry about how he would react. I wasn’t worried about losing my job. I wasn’t responsible for anyone buy myself which also made it easier for me not to worry about my job.

I worry that real cases of assault and abuse won’t be taken as seriously if every innocent action a man takes or every innocent compliment he makes is seen as offensive.

This is just my personal rant today and I hope no one is offended. I have great empathy for any woman who has suffered real abuse and/or harassment of any kind but I also have empathy for the majority of the men who are decent and treat women with respect. And that’s far more than are making the current headlines.

It’s often been said that it’s hard to be a “woman in a man’s world” but in the present climate,  I think it might be harder to be a “man in a woman’s world.”

God bless and have a good day.