Have you ever been wrongly accused of sexual harassment?

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JohnisBlind
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13 Aug 2010, 9:48 pm

hale_bopp wrote:
JohnisBlind wrote:
What I find excruciatingly annoying is the assumption that I must have done SOMETHING wrong.


The reason for that is you are evading our questions.


I have never been accused of sexual harassment. I have been misinterpreted though which makes me feel that being falsely accused of sexual harassment is probable.

As for the incident with the Pink Floyd song. All I know is that I was sitting next to two girls. I made a few non-sexual observations about a non-sexual song. They gave me an annoyed look so I stopped talking to them immediately. Afterwards I was told by my sister that I would not be allowed to go to her parties because she had heard that I was hitting on her friends. That interaction was the only verbal interaction I had all night with my sisters friends so I am pretty certain that it was that interaction which I was being accused of acting inappropriately.



hyperlexian
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13 Aug 2010, 10:17 pm

JohnisBlind wrote:
hale_bopp wrote:
JohnisBlind wrote:
What I find excruciatingly annoying is the assumption that I must have done SOMETHING wrong.


The reason for that is you are evading our questions.


I have never been accused of sexual harassment. I have been misinterpreted though which makes me feel that being falsely accused of sexual harassment is probable.

As for the incident with the Pink Floyd song. All I know is that I was sitting next to two girls. I made a few non-sexual observations about a non-sexual song. They gave me an annoyed look so I stopped talking to them immediately. Afterwards I was told by my sister that I would not be allowed to go to her parties because she had heard that I was hitting on her friends. That interaction was the only verbal interaction I had all night with my sisters friends so I am pretty certain that it was that interaction which I was being accused of acting inappropriately.

you missed a question. what age were the girls and how old were you at the time?

there is a more important question: did you find either of those girls attractive, i.e. would you have gone out with either of them, if you were given the chance? because it may not have been your actual actions that bothered them - it may have been your underlying intentions. just wondering, as to whether there was any source for their discomfort.

of course they may also have just been vindictive nasty women, but without further information it is impossible to discern.


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JohnisBlind
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14 Aug 2010, 12:28 am

hyperlexian wrote:
JohnisBlind wrote:
hale_bopp wrote:
JohnisBlind wrote:
What I find excruciatingly annoying is the assumption that I must have done SOMETHING wrong.


The reason for that is you are evading our questions.


I have never been accused of sexual harassment. I have been misinterpreted though which makes me feel that being falsely accused of sexual harassment is probable.

As for the incident with the Pink Floyd song. All I know is that I was sitting next to two girls. I made a few non-sexual observations about a non-sexual song. They gave me an annoyed look so I stopped talking to them immediately. Afterwards I was told by my sister that I would not be allowed to go to her parties because she had heard that I was hitting on her friends. That interaction was the only verbal interaction I had all night with my sisters friends so I am pretty certain that it was that interaction which I was being accused of acting inappropriately.

you missed a question. what age were the girls and how old were you at the time?

there is a more important question: did you find either of those girls attractive, i.e. would you have gone out with either of them, if you were given the chance? because it may not have been your actual actions that bothered them - it may have been your underlying intentions. just wondering, as to whether there was any source for their discomfort.

of course they may also have just been vindictive nasty women, but without further information it is impossible to discern.


They were with 2-3 years of my age. Certainly they were age appropriate. As for my intentions. Well, they were females. I might not have said anything at all if they were male. I don't know if I would have wanted to date them. Starting a conversation is one way of finding out whether a person is interesting or not. I tried to start a conversation with that purpose in mind.



hale_bopp
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14 Aug 2010, 12:48 am

Well from that I think thats a bit unfair on you.

But they probably got the vibe or non verbal cue that you were interested in dating people.



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14 Aug 2010, 3:09 am

My guess is that the non-verbal communication let you down.
If:
-Your voice was 'weird' and perhaps sounded as though you were hitting on them
-If you sat too close to them whilst talking (perhaps unknowingly)
-If you stared at them (perhaps unknowingly)
-If they sent out 'I don't want to talk to you' messages non-verbally that you didn't pick up and so kept talking to them

Any of those things could have led to you being seen as hitting on them, which could have been why they complained.

Since in your other thread you used this situation as an example of why you 'couldn't express your sexuality' I wonder if maybe you WERE trying to hit on them, and this seems to be supported by the fact that you said in this thread that having a conversation like the one you did was a way for you to see if girls were interested.

Also you said your age was within a few years, but if you were seventeen/eighteen and they were fourteen/fifteen it could still have been innapropriate


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JohnisBlind
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14 Aug 2010, 3:19 am

Alycat wrote:
My guess is that the non-verbal communication let you down.
If:
-Your voice was 'weird' and perhaps sounded as though you were hitting on them
-If you sat too close to them whilst talking (perhaps unknowingly)
-If you stared at them (perhaps unknowingly)
-If they sent out 'I don't want to talk to you' messages non-verbally that you didn't pick up and so kept talking to them

Any of those things could have led to you being seen as hitting on them, which could have been why they complained.

Since in your other thread you used this situation as an example of why you 'couldn't express your sexuality' I wonder if maybe you WERE trying to hit on them, and this seems to be supported by the fact that you said in this thread that having a conversation like the one you did was a way for you to see if girls were interested.

Also you said your age was within a few years, but if you were seventeen/eighteen and they were fourteen/fifteen it could still have been inappropriate


I can assure you that they weren't underage. I guess you kind find ways to read something negative into anything. I give up.

Let us to suppose that in the most technical definition of the word talking to somebody with the intent of evaluating their desirability is "hitting on" somebody. But so what if I was hitting on them? What is so wrong with that?



Alycat
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14 Aug 2010, 3:35 am

JohnisBlind wrote:
Alycat wrote:
My guess is that the non-verbal communication let you down.
If:
-Your voice was 'weird' and perhaps sounded as though you were hitting on them
-If you sat too close to them whilst talking (perhaps unknowingly)
-If you stared at them (perhaps unknowingly)
-If they sent out 'I don't want to talk to you' messages non-verbally that you didn't pick up and so kept talking to them

Any of those things could have led to you being seen as hitting on them, which could have been why they complained.

Since in your other thread you used this situation as an example of why you 'couldn't express your sexuality' I wonder if maybe you WERE trying to hit on them, and this seems to be supported by the fact that you said in this thread that having a conversation like the one you did was a way for you to see if girls were interested.

Also you said your age was within a few years, but if you were seventeen/eighteen and they were fourteen/fifteen it could still have been inappropriate


I can assure you that they weren't underage. I guess you kind find ways to read something negative into anything. I give up.

Let us to suppose that in the most technical definition of the word talking to somebody with the intent of evaluating their desirability is "hitting on" somebody. But so what if I was hitting on them? What is so wrong with that?

I wasn't trying to find ways to read negativity in to anything - you had asked why they'd accused you of hitting on you, and I suggested possible reasons as to why that might not have happened.

As for what was 'wrong' with hitting on them - it's fine if they are interested in you, but if they send out the signals that they aren't and you keep going, then it is a problem. Or if they've sent out those signals in a previous situation and you try again it's a problem.
I'm not saying you thought 'hey I know they don't like me but I'm going to try anyway', you might just have not picked up on their signals.


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hyperlexian
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14 Aug 2010, 10:32 am

i did notice that you didn't state their actual ages, or your actual age at the time, which was my specific question. it makes a great deal of difference which age cohort which you, and they, fell into. i asked this question twice, and you avoided answering it directly both times.


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SabbraCadabra
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14 Aug 2010, 1:18 pm

I was accused by a couple of guys in elementary school once :x Got called down to the principal's office, she said they told her I had been touching them inappropriately on the playground :roll:

A few years later, I brought it up with one of them, and they swore up and down that it really did happen. No idea what the whole thing was about :?


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14 Aug 2010, 2:58 pm

I had that happen, I was playing tag and I went to tap a girl's shoulder when she was walking backwards and I missed. Like holy s**t I accidentally touched her boob! Tell the principal!


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JohnisBlind
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14 Aug 2010, 3:44 pm

hyperlexian wrote:
i did notice that you didn't state their actual ages, or your actual age at the time, which was my specific question. it makes a great deal of difference which age cohort which you, and they, fell into. i asked this question twice, and you avoided answering it directly both times.


Maybe I was 21 and they were 19.



hyperlexian
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14 Aug 2010, 4:17 pm

JohnisBlind wrote:
hyperlexian wrote:
i did notice that you didn't state their actual ages, or your actual age at the time, which was my specific question. it makes a great deal of difference which age cohort which you, and they, fell into. i asked this question twice, and you avoided answering it directly both times.


Maybe I was 21 and they were 19.

ok. really? well, it's kind of odd that your mother would be deciding on who would be allowed to attend a party for 19 year old girls.


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14 Aug 2010, 6:00 pm

This topic I have experience with, and will emphasize how important CONTEXT is.

A guy I worked with got fired for sexual harassment and I have no doubt that he was taken the wrong way, but he caused real harm and I couldn't argue with the firing, either.

Simple reality is that he was in the superior position and did not have the luxury of believing he had any right to be socially friendly with the women he bossed around all day. Add to that the fact that he was a difficult boss, bordering on being a tyrant, and his attempts at being friendly came across as attempts to force a relationship. You can't just have dinner on a business trip with someone you were yelling at two hours ago, and you can't casually watch a movie in your hotel room with anyone whose career you have some measure of control over.

Three of those women had quietly quit before one got brave enough to file a claim.

Anytime you are the boss, you must be very careful how you conduct yourself with employees of the opposite sex.

Not the boss? Well, then there is the hostile environment thing. Some conversations make women extremely uncomfortable, and have no place in an office. If they overhear you talking with the guys, and then you walk in and comment about their outfit, they are likely to connect the two conversations and assume you meant more than you do. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and there are many cultural differences in the work place as well. If any part of your obsession with the topic of sex shows up in your interactions in the workplace, you have set yourself up to be misunderstood. If any of these threads show up on a publicly viewed screen, you can be deemed to be creating a hostile environment.

For self-protection, remember that some thoughts and ideas have ZERO place at work.

The reality is, you don't have to engage in actual sexual harassment for someone to feel that they have been sexually harassed by you. My experience with the fired co-worker made that very clear to me; we all felt horrible for him, but we also felt horrible for the young women he had inadvertently made miserable. The company had no choice but to fire him, as a legal matter, but the worst part is that I don't know if he ever figured out how the whole thing happened, how he got so easily misunderstood. Stuff like that can be repaired, moving forward, if one is willing to take a solid and cold look at their own actions as viewed from a different lens.


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Last edited by DW_a_mom on 14 Aug 2010, 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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14 Aug 2010, 6:44 pm

GoatOnFire wrote:
Back in high school I was the recipient of what may be the stupidest sexual harassment accusation ever. Some girl was following me around making fun of my backpack. I didn't find a verbal response worth the breath so I just flipped her the bird. Later, I get called in for an accusation of sexual harassment. It was about the middle finger, apparently the bird can possibly be interpreted as a phallic symbol. I was suspended for three days because some vindictive b***h realized that sexual harassment rules are so stupid that you can say that you felt uncomfortable because you claimed that you thought the bird was roughly shaped like a penis and get someone in trouble. Not that out of school suspension wasn't pretty sweet, I hated that school.


Since "flipping the bird" is symbolic for "f--- y--," there is penile symbolism in it. However, any reasonable person knows that it is most commonly used for telling someone where to get off, just as the verbal phrase is commonly used. The school badly over-reacted, probably because someone -- either the girl or her parents -- used the "L" word --lawsuit.



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14 Aug 2010, 7:34 pm

DW_a_mom wrote:
The reality is, you don't have to engage in actual sexual harassment for someone to feel that they have sexually harassed by you.


So you are saying that all a girl has to do is claim that you sexually harrassed her, and you will get fired even if there is no evidence to support her claim? How does that work?

As for not knowing whether he ever understood what happened, why didn't you sit down with him and try to explain?



JohnisBlind
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14 Aug 2010, 8:20 pm

DW_a_mom wrote:
This topic I have experience with, and will emphasize how important CONTEXT is.

A guy I worked with got fired for sexual harassment and I have no doubt that he was taken the wrong way, but he caused real harm and I couldn't argue with the firing, either.

Simple reality is that he was in the superior position and did not have the luxury of believing he had any right to be socially friendly with the women he bossed around all day. Add to that the fact that he was a difficult boss, bordering on being a tyrant, and his attempts at being friendly came across as attempts to force a relationship. You can't just have dinner on a business trip with someone you were yelling at two hours ago, and you can't casually watch a movie in your hotel room with anyone whose career you have some measure of control over.

Three of those women had quietly quit before one got brave enough to file a claim.

Anytime you are the boss, you must be very careful how you conduct yourself with employees of the opposite sex.

Not the boss? Well, then there is the hostile environment thing. Some conversations make women extremely uncomfortable, and have no place in an office. If they overhear you talking with the guys, and then you walk in and comment about their outfit, they are likely to connect the two conversations and assume you meant more than you do. Nothing happens in a vacuum, and there are many cultural differences in the work place as well. If any part of your obsession with the topic of sex shows up in your interactions in the workplace, you have set yourself up to be misunderstood. If any of these threads show up on a publicly viewed screen, you can be deemed to be creating a hostile environment.

For self-protection, remember that some thoughts and ideas have ZERO place at work.

The reality is, you don't have to engage in actual sexual harassment for someone to feel that they have sexually harassed by you. My experience with the fired co-worker made that very clear to me; we all felt horrible for him, but we also felt horrible for the young women he had inadvertently made miserable. The company had no choice but to fire him, as a legal matter, but the worst part is that I don't know if he ever figured out how the whole thing happened, how he got so easily misunderstood. Stuff like that can be repaired, moving forward, if one is willing to take a solid and cold look at their own actions as viewed from a different lens.


I don't know enough about the details of this case to make a judgment.