Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world. This is an error of the intellect as inevitable as that error of the eye which lets us fancy that on the horizon heaven and earth meet. This explains many things, and among them the fact that everyone measures us with his own standard – generally about as long as a tailor’s tape, and we have to put up with it: as also that no one will allow us to be taller than himself – a supposition which is once for all taken for granted.
Listening to an NPR Marketplace episode (a show/podcast that I would highly recommend everyone listen to) and they talked with Dr. Kathleen Kelley Reardon concerning an old and a new article she had written. The old article from 1993 is “The Memo Every Woman Keeps in Her Desk” and the new article is “Spectrum of Sexual Misconduct at Work“. Both are good but I want to briefly mention the later article on the spectrum.
I think it is very helpful for the current much needed conversation concerning sexual harassment that our culture is experiencing. The term sexual harassment is just too vague, covering behavior that ranges from awkward to criminal. All of the behavior needs to be addressed but that doesn’t mean it should all be addressed in the same manner. Obviously some of the behavior demands criminal charges and prison time, while other behavior needs to be addressed by termination, and still other by reprimands.
Dr. Reardon’s spectrum is as follows:
- Awkward/Mildly Offensive
- Offensive ( Not necessarily or overtly intentional)
- Seriously Offensive (Intentional lowering of women’s value)
- Evident Sexual Misconduct
- Egregious Sexual Misconduct
Obviously I am not an expert on this subject nor am I someone who has to deal with much sexual harassment. Though as a husband, friend, pastor, chaplain, and human being I do worry about the sexual harassment of anyone. Someone being sexually harassed should be the exception rather than the norm. Personally, I think Reardon’s spectrum is a good addition to the discussion and hopefully the discussion will reduce the amount of harassment people, especially women, face.