The greater the imbalance of income and power, the more opportunity there is to take advantage. As a outcome, many women feel trapped by their abusers
What is the common denominator between the mega-producer Harvey Weinstein, the pundit Mark Halperin, the venture capitalist Dave McClure, and the aggressive former boss of a customer-service superintendent I interviewed last week?
All are accused of dreadful sexual harassment, and in some cases violent assault. All also had inordinate economic advantage over their female the workers and colleagues. Their quarry ranged from actresses to journalists to female entrepreneurs. And what their preyall had in common was a fear of fiscal or professional retribution that could destabilize already precarious careers.
The daily spate of tales of lechery and trauma holds a concealed but crucial banality: sexual harassment routinely feeds on income inequality. After all, it’s much harder to exploit an equal. The greater the imbalance of income and power, the more opportunity there is to abuse one’s advantage( and perhaps, a greater temptation ).
As a result, many girls feel they have to keep working for the boss who sexually harassed them because of their financial positions.
I talked to a customer-service worker , now 32, who was earning only in the mid- $20,000 s, and had a child at home to support when the harassment happened. That was why she continued to work at the company for close to a decade for a boss who made numerous” sex attempts” on her, including touching her breast.
” He slapped my ass. He talked about his’ third leg’ and how he couldn’t wait to use it on me ,” she told me. At one point, her boss even” lifted up my dress in front of everyone and presented my ass to the office .” He also remarked that he could” lick her pussy better” than her longtime female partner could.
She remained, she said, because she felt she had no options. The fact that her boss was a self-professed millionaire who talked about his personal wealth all the time was part of why she never came forward.” He countlessly told us he was lawyered up, and how was I going to compete with that ?”( She has finally left that job and detected employment elsewhere .)
To my mind, one of the hidden causes behind the continued contagion of sexual harassment- a new ABC News-Washington Post poll showed that three in 10 women in America say they have experienced it in the workplace- is clearly the financial and power disparity between men and women. Girls still earn 83% of what men do and are far more likely to be poorer than their male counterparts and thus more dependent on get work from men who might harass them. It afflicts waitresses and women running startups alike.
Wealth concentration could even be said to help make the Weinsteins of the world. With an increased power difference, there is all the more opportunity to abuse one’s advantage( and, perhaps, a greater the temptation ). The workplace or collegial harasser tends to know the victim is economically down a peg.
As employment lawyer Daniel R Bright ensure it, women who earn less and have shakier professional security are indeed more likely to be targeted for sexual harassment. Many of Bright’s clients are in their 20 s, right out of college, earning $30,000 a year, sometimes still living with parents or roommates. Bright said that these women’s harassers believe their employees” require their jobs so they’ll put up with it” and” can’t afford to quit “.
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