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NCJ Number: 164432 Find in a Library
Title: Broad Definitions of Sexual Harassment Are Harmful (From What Is Sexual Harassment? P 63-68, 1995, Karin L Swisher, ed. - - See NCJ-164224)
Author(s): W McElroy
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Greenhaven Press
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
Sale Source: Greenhaven Press
P.O. Box 9187
Farmington Hills, MI 48333-9187
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Vague and overly broad definitions of sexual harassment currently used by government organizations, universities, and the court system not only victimize innocent men, they also harm the dignity of women.
Abstract: Allowing these institutions to mandate sexual attitudes is paternalistic toward women and threatens the liberty of adults of both sexes. The law should be used to protect against violence, not coerce compliance with cultural attitudes and moral views. In cases of nonviolent sexual harassment, women should stand up for themselves. The purpose of law in society is to protect individual rights, to protect self-ownership. Self-ownership means that every human being, simply by being human, has a moral and legal claim to his/her own body. Law comes into play only when a woman is a victim or initiator of force. Contrast this with the view of law implicit in legislative attempts to prohibit or punish sexual harassment. Most feminists are trying to use the law to enforce a proper standard of morality or behavior, such as nondiscrimination or respect for women. The law has become a means of enforcing "virtue." In the case of sexual harassment, because men should not hold degrading opinions of women, the law punishes men whenever their unacceptable opinions are expressed in a public manner. The correct moral position becomes law. Under such a climate, men are being confronted with a list of behaviors they are no longer allowed to exhibit; any transgression is threatened with court action. Short of violent or coercive behavior, the regulation of behavior should be left to the free market. In such a market, businesses would be free to hire and fire according to their own personal judgment. Those who are fired, on the other hand, have the legal right to protect, publicly and loudly, not from the witness stand of a courtroom, but from whatever platforms a free society allows. Those who are hostile to the free market are using the issue of sexual harassment to gain political control of the workplace.
Main Term(s): Female victims
Index Term(s): Definitions; Employer-employee relations; Equal opportunity employment; Gender issues; Sexual harassment
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