This post is reprinted from The Huffington Post with the permission of its authors.
What’s the biggest myth about street harassment? That men of color comprise the majority of offenders.
It’s a myth as old as this nation: the idea that Black men are more likely to be sexual predators — especially of white women. Consider D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth Of A Nation,” that builds an entire narrative on the idea of the black brute. From the Scottsboro boys to Emmitt Till, history as well as popular culture, the justice system and virtually all other facets of American society still hold the deeply entrenched notion of Black men as people to be feared.
But the myth doesn’t stop with history. In a recent New York Times article, a White woman living in a mostly Caribbean community (Crown Heights, Brooklyn) gets physically assaulted by a Latino man and wonders if it’s her fault, as if moving into a mostly Caribbean community was the city-dwellers equivalent to “asking for it.” A few years ago, a woman, also writing for The New York Times, reported on her experience doing aid work in the Congo and hearing repeatedly from other European aid workers that sexual harassment, violence, and rape in those areas “is cultural,” instead of, as she duly notes, “a tool of war.” The myth that Black and Latino men are innately sexually aggressive is one that extends beyond our national borders. Keep reading »
Many Frisky readers are too young to remember the 1991 Supreme Court confirmation hearing of Clarence Thomas, then a federal circuit judge. One name you might recall is Anita Hill. She was the Black woman who came forward to publicly testify that Thomas, her boss at the Department of Education and the EEOC, had sexually harassed her in a gross, relentless manner. The accusations against Thomas were a powderkeg, taking on a life of its own and igniting racial, sexual and political tensions. Anita Hill herself became the one put on trial in the court of public opinion. For a lot of women, how her behavior was picked apart and the violent threats she endured were a chilling reminder of what could happen to any woman who speaks out against sexual harassment at the hands of powerful men. (Thomas was confirmed and remains on the Supreme Court to this day.) “ANITA” looks like an absolutely gripping documentary and a must-see for all working women. It will be released across America in March 2014. [YouTube]
Not long ago, I had a conversation with my father about how literally every woman I know with an active presence online – whether it was as a journalist, as a gamer, or as someone active in a forum – had experienced violent and/or sexual threats. This news often shocks men, as it shocked my father, because they don’t experience the same issues online. Yet harassment is a daily experience for women online, especially for those who are outspoken about feminism. Journalist Amanda Hess has chronicled not only harassment she’s experienced, but the statistics behind harassment that prove, truly, that women are harassed online far more than men. Read more on The Mary Sue…
A New York State politician accused of sexually harassing more than half a dozen staffers resigned from the state legislature last night.
Dennis Gabryszak, an Assemblyman from the Buffalo area, was accused in December of sexual harassment by three former female employees who filed notices of claim (the first step before filing a lawsuit). The women, which included his former legislative director, his former communications director, and another communications director who replaced her, claimed Gabryszak asked women to dress as sexy elves and sit on his lap during an office Christmas photo, grabbed one woman and tried to kiss her, invited them to hotel rooms, talked about their “sexual characteristics,” discussed penis tattoos, dragged one of them into a massage parlor, and sent another a video in which he was mimicking receiving a blowjob. Keep reading »
Just when you thought politicians could keep it in their pants … ha, ha, you were wrong.
New York State Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak has been accused of sexual harassment by three former aides, according to the Associated Press. The women filed a notice of claim on Thursday, which the AP explained is a step before filing a lawsuit.
His alleged victims claim Gabryszak invited them to hotel rooms, talked about their “sexual characteristics,” discussed penis tattoos, dragged one of them into a massage parlor, and sent another a video in which he was mimicking receiving a blowjob. All of the icks. Keep reading »
Former San Diego mayor Bob Filner, who resigned in August after he was accused of sexual harassment and assault by 18 women, has been sentenced to three months of home confinement and three years of probation. Three of those women filed charges against the disgraced former Congressman: two counts of misdemeanor battery and one count of felony false imprisonment. Justice has been served … um, NOT. Keep reading »
The police have done some pretty disgusting stuff before but this one takes the cake: A woman alleges Haskell, Arkansas, police officer Brandon Carter showed up at her workplace, demanded she show her breasts, and then chased her around the office with a taser when she said “no.” Ashlea Bennet said Carter, who was on-duty, came to her workplace on December 13, 2011, and demanded she show him her boobs. She refused. Carter then allegedly removed the Taser from his belt and threatened to tase her if she didn’t show him her boobs. He then allegedly chased her around her workplace with a taser, ”zapping her repeatedly,” according to the New York Daily News. What is wrong with people?! [New York Daily News, Court House News] [Image of a man with a taser via Shutterstock]