Author of Adam and Steve, a novel about reexamining your prejudices

Posts tagged ‘sexual harassment’

Too pretty to work

The all-male Iowa Supreme Court ruled 7-0 that a woman can be fired for being too pretty. That’s what happened to a dental assistant after ten years of service. Dentist believed assistant was “stellar”, but tempting; wife believed marriage was threatened (though there was no affair); assistant was fired; dentist was sued for unlawful termination; dentist won and divorce was averted.

A woman can now be fired for any reason as long as the employer cites the temptation factor. The decision places women in a no-win situation. From childhood, men impress on women that pretty is better. The notion has been screamed from tv’s, radios and throughout the print media.  That indoctrination has now been turned against the indoctrinated. If she’s pretty, then she could lose her livelihood. There’s little consolation in the flip side of the argument. To save her job, she must be homely.  The too pretty, too tempting standard is simply too subjective and too meaningless to form the basis of a legal decision of such magnitude.

The Iowa Supreme Court’s ruling was not the first time nor the last to require women to bear the consequences of men’s inability to control themselves. To insure that he thinks and focuses better, behaves better, learns better and works better, women for too long have been relegated to the back seat in the workforce, military, academia and religious institutions. By demanding that women protect men from their baser natures, society not only has kept its women down, but has belittled and patronized its men.

Really, guys – exert some self-control.  It’s tough enough for women to protect themselves from themselves and protect themselves from men without having to protect men from men. Justice in this situation might be served if dental assistant collected disability based on the court’s decision that she’s too pretty to work. Now that’s a case I’d like to take.

Too hot to work

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Save our military women from our military men

English: WASHINGTON (March 26, 2010) A poster ...

WASHINGTON (March 26, 2010) A poster supporting the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program.  (U.S. Navy photo illustration/Released) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you know who Margaret Corbin was? She fought in the Revolutionary War beside her husband, firing a cannon in defense of Fort Washington overlooking the Hudson River in Manhattan.  After her husband’s death in battle, Margaret continued to fight until she was wounded. The rest, as they say, is herstory. Woman have served in the military ever since.

When a woman joins the military in a time of war like Margaret did, she expects her life to be on the line for her country and for her fellow military personnel. She’s aware she may never again see her husband, child, parent or sibling. She’s courageous and selfless much like her male counterpart.  She’ll risk her life notwithstanding that those in whose country she fights may wish she and our military presence would pack up and leave.  It’s a perilous and thankless job.

What she doesn’t expect and certainly doesn’t deserve is to be victimized by her fellow comrades-in-arms while the brass and the government, for the most part, look the other way.  As posted in the Huffington Post on December 27, 2012, one-quarter of all military women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan reported being sexually assaulted.  That’s an outrageous statistic, but only part of the shameful story.

  • A servicewoman was nearly 180 times more likely to be a victim of military sexual assault than to die while deployed during the last 11 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • An estimated 19,000 assaults occurred between October 1, 2010 –  September 31, 2011; roughly 52 assaults per day.
  • The conviction rate for sexual assaults in the military is slightly under 6%.
  •  In slightly less than half of the reported cases, the offender was of a higher rank than the victim.

See, and

The possibility of sexual assault was reason enough for our military men and members of Congress to prohibit gay men from serving for generations; notwithstanding, that gay men had been serving with distinction and without assaulting their fellow military men in any numbers even remotely close to the statistics cited above. Hetersexual military men were terrified of the sexual assault they now inflict in record numbers on military women. Ironic isn’t it?

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