Hillary Clinton And 3 Tips to Simplify Complicated Harassment Situations
I supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and I stand by that decision, but I was sad and not incredibly surprised to hear the news today about her response to a staff member’s complaint of sexual harassment in 2008. The report is that rather than move or fire the harasser, Clinton intervened with her advisors to allow the harasser to take sexual harassment classes so that he could remain her spiritual advisor. The woman who complained was moved to a different position.
I see these responses to harassment all too commonly, and I understand there is some complexity to them. In my view, you always support a younger woman who is the future of your business (or campaign) over a man who is threatening her physical space. But, many people believe the integrity of women’s physical space is not a crucial issue or put unrealistic expectations on women in disadvantaged power positions to protect their physical space, rather than on men to respect it.
When I started law school, I was very surprised at how little support I got from more experienced women lawyers – often they would be disproportionately hard on me, I felt, or even antagonistic. Later, I realized, I come from a generation of women that has made a deliberate attempt to cultivate and focus on support among women. That was not always the case, and the more experienced women I encountered in law school, like Hillary Clinton, came from a generation of women who had to fight to survive in their chosen profession, no matter what they encountered. I realized that when my professors were being harder on me than men, they might have thought they were doing me a favor and preparing me for what I would face in the legal world. In some ways, that was true.