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Dangerous and antiquated thinking

Cheryl McCausland
Posted 3/18/21

To the editor:

I am a bit befuddled by two recent letters to the editor written by women who seemingly admonish (primarily young) women to accept the consequences of working with high level men …

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Dangerous and antiquated thinking

Posted

To the editor:

I am a bit befuddled by two recent letters to the editor written by women who seemingly admonish (primarily young) women to accept the consequences of working with high level men who appear to find them attractive enough to “hit on” at work.

The messages appear to be “suck it up” when a supervisor is “sniffing around”, especially if they are powerful or successful. This is dangerous and antiquated thinking.

If asked, most women could share a story or two of unprovoked sexually charged encounters with men. For me, they include comments at work, in law school, in courtrooms and even while walking down the street.

These uncomfortable but mostly inconsequential encounters differ drastically from those that have been alleged against Governor Cuomo. To state the obvious, He IS a powerful employer who CAN impact the livelihoods of those who work for him.

A review of his resume would lead a reasonable person to conclude that he knew not to “test the waters” with the much younger female employees in his administration but did it anyway. That is called arrogance. It may also prove to be unlawful. (For basic reference, take a look at: nysdhr-sexual-harassment.pdf) In any scenario, it was not innocent.

Whether the Governor (or any supervisor) has done a great, good, or poor job is IRRELEVANT. Whether a person is attractive is IRRELEVANT. Any individual who unlawfully uses their position of power to intimidate an employee into submission based, among other factors, on their sex, must be held accountable.

This is not a new message - and it should not be diluted based on political affiliation, commitment to a job, likeability, or effectiveness.

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