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Monday, October 30, 2017

Made in the Image

Two weeks ago, I decided to blog about the awkward and ugly subject of a predatory Hollywood type: Harvey Weinstein. At that time, I mentioned that we should not be shocked at these revelations. Intelligent and observant people know this goes on all the time where money and power converge. With that blog, I was going to drop the subject.

But this week new information has surfaced that I feel compelled to address. Along with the increasing number of actresses stepping forward to share their painful stories of abusive bosses, we have media types who are in the news for the very same kind of thing. And what is revealed should clearly illustrate why much more aggressive response to these predatory types must be taken.

First, a simple definition. predatory: seeking to exploit or oppress others. Add three synonyms to this to get a clearer picture. Wolfish. Rapacious. Vulturous.

The latest names to get the media buzz on this subject are media men themselves. Along with the Bill Cosby trial over his wolfish behavior, add to that Bill O’Reilly’s forced resignation for his behavior earlier this year. Roger Ailes, who ruled Fox News, bit the dust for nibbling where he shouldn’t. Then another Fox newsman fell—Eric Bolling.

Should we be surprised there is more to be revealed? Big time media type Mark Halperin is now on the hot seat. His idea of fun was to intimidate one of the young research assistants at ABC News to sit on his lap. This happened multiple times. Another author and political correspondent said she was “sexually assaulted” by Halperin. She did not report this because “I thought I was the only one, and I blamed myself, and I was embarrassed and I was scared of him.” Vulturous men in action.

Now to the bigger problem. Getting men to “get it” on what sexual harassment involves.

Before giving you these numbers, it should be noted that these are survey results from an online sample of men. Instamotor surveyed 750 men across the United States to hear their experiences with sexual harassment or assault. Check out these responses:

• 1 in 3 respondents don’t think catcalling is sexual harassment.
• 2 in 3 don’t think repeated unwanted invitations to drinks, dinner, or dates is sexual harassment.
• Nearly 1 in 5 don’t think sexual harassment is a fireable offense.

Many guys were also confused about what actions constitute "sexual harassment or assault.”

A new Washington Post-ABC News poll reveals 64 percent of Americans say that sexual harassment in the workplace is a serious problem. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say men who sexually harass female coworkers usually get away with it.

Thus, I draw this conclusion. Companies across America better beware. And become proactive. They should beware that this harassment activity may be happening under their noses. Women—and some men—have had enough. And they are coming out of the abuse closet.

Leadership should be proactive. Better get those clear messages out repeatedly that this behavior will not be tolerated. Create safe zones for women and men who feel the vulturous types are after them so that they can report this. Get the legal team involved now, lest the cost of ignorance and failure to act leave misery to all.

If it were me, my staff meeting would start with a basic message from Genesis 1, verses 27: “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (NLT) People are not “things.” They are highly prized creations made in God’s image. Better get on board with the idea of treating people like that.

In closing, if you’ve been a victim of a predatory type, now is the time to speak up.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.

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