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The sudden change of perception about sexual harassment

Many organizations are not now willing to pay the reputational cost of having a manager who harasses

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The sudden change of perception about sexual harassment

"Those who break silence." Under this headline, Time magazine has highlighted five women who have had courage to denounce having been victims of sexual harassment or abuse. The magazine has decided to appoint a person of year to those who have starred in MeToo campaign (YoTambién), a social movement that has been surprised by speed with which it has spread and devastating effects it has had. Since Weinstein case, complaint has claimed an unstoppable force and many men with power have already had to leave ir posts after being designated as stalkers.

The campaign has had so much effect that now many or men are afraid of being hit by this gale. And many wonder what has changed so that mere accusation of having been proclaimed can now cause fulminant dismissals and resignations. For past behaviors that y considered normal, y can now pass on a high bill. The phenomenon is complex, but several factors can be ventured. The first is a sudden change of social perception. This is not new. It happened already with domestic violence. The case of Ana Oranjes, murdered by her husband after having denounced on television a life of beatings and humiliation, marked a turning point in social perception. The macho violence ceased to be a private matter and it became considered a reality that remained hidden because it was part of rules of game of macho power.

The same goes for sexual harassment. The polls reveal that it is a very widespread phenomenon, but it hardly comes to light because it is part of power relations. Those who harass or abuse are men who use power to get sexual favors. It happens however that now re are many women with training, self-esteem and also power enough to say enough. Some have broken barrier of silence and many ors have followed m, tired of a humiliation y consider unbearable. It is No coincidence that tipping point was downfall of powerful Hollywood producer. That complainants are famous actresses and with great public projection, has given a letter of nature to phenomenon: if y have suffered harassment, what will not happen with or women who have no power.

Therein lies anor key to this hatching. The few that so far dared to denounce were almost always unprepared from ir passage through justice, because many times it was ir behavior that ended up being judged. They have now checked, to stupefaction many stalkers, that re is a much more effective system: public complaint. Why is mere denunciation now effective? By change of perception. Many organizations and companies are not now willing to pay reputational cost of having a harassing manager. The circle closes. That can lead to unfair situations, we must not dismiss it, but we will have to take it. More unfair is unpunished abuse, and that was so far most normal situation.

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