Women must expose sexual harassers boldly, but also wisely
It’s January 2018, and sexual-harassment commentary drips down the pages of our newspapers like brandy custard on the stale plum pudding in the back of the fridge. There is a shared intake of breath each time we learn of the un-sexy details of conduct allegedly enacted by some national icons.
The sound of a collective gasp is not the sort of climax that any harasser is generally accustomed to. In fact, this type of exposure is the harasser’s greatest fear, because sexual harassment is about power. It’s about rendering another person “less able” by dispensing humiliating treatment such that the perpetrator feels as though they are the most powerful version of themself. Suddenly, though, the soundtrack to summer 2018 features a chorus of strong Australian women declaring that the “new normal” in exposure will be tipping this power-grab back on its head.
Until now, Australians, for generations, brushed sexual harassment off like a fly on the sunscreen. It’s officially been illegal, on a national level, since the introduction of the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984, but to the strains of the “she’ll be right” anthem, women were taught to grin and bear it, because silence was their best bet. No one likes a dobber, and we don’t want things to get nasty, do we? There’s a good girl. (Pat, pat on the bottom. “Now, off ya go, darlin’.”).
Now, more than ever, thanks to the bravery of advocates such as Tracey Spicer, misogynous mould is being scraped from the cultural container of Australian workplaces with unprecedented elbow grease. Putrid practices risk getting the Sunlight soap treatment as women feel the strength of their collective capacity bolstering the strength of their individual voice. Read More …
their best bet. No one likes a dobber, and we don’t want things to get nasty, do we? There’s a good girl. (Pat, pat on the bottom. “Now, off ya go, darlin’.”).