Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Dam Breaks

This is an extraordinary moment in socio-cultural history. The flood of women coming forward to speak truth about Harvey Weinstein somehow dislodged a blockage in the collective psyche. Bill Cosby, all of the academic sexual harassment scandals, and even the candidacy and, incredibly, election to the presidency of Der Gropenfuhrer wasn't enough. Actually, I think it's because of the latter disaster that the fall of Weinstein was possible.

Here's an essay in NEJM about sexual harassment in the medical profession. When doctors were all men and nurses were all women I assume nurses had to put up with this but now female physicians and medical students have found that they're still just women who seem to have wandered into the frat house. Dr. Jagsi describes her research on sexual harassment in medicine and says this:

The many heartfelt messages I’ve received from strangers since publishing my research reinforce these intuitions. The brave physicians who’ve contacted me say they remained silent and questioned their self-worth after their experiences, wondering whether they brought it on themselves. . . . In fact, none of the women who’ve contacted me have reported their experiences. They speak of challenging institutional cultures, with workplaces dominated by men who openly engage in lewd “locker-room conversation” or exclude them from all-male social events, leaving them without allies in whom to confide after suffering an indignity or a crime.
The pathology runs so deep that women in positions of power have been complicit. Here's from the Detroit News investigating the case of Larry Nassar and Michigan State:

Nassar put his fingers inside[16 year old gymnast] Boyce during weekly visits with him at his university office, and in a room near where the gymnasts practiced at Jenison Field House. After a long appointment with Nassar at Jenison, a coach asked Boyce what was happening during that time. Boyce told the coach, who insisted that Boyce tell MSU’s then-head gymnastics coach, Kathie Klages.  Boyce . . . still remembers the green carpet in Klages’ office and telling her Nassar had been “fingering” her during visits. . . .

Klages, who was MSU women’s gymnastics coach for 27 seasons, brought several of Boyce’s fellow youth program gymnasts into her office and asked them if Nassar did the same to them. One of them said he had. That woman, who spoke to The News on condition of anonymity, was 14 then, and remembers knowing before the meeting they would be talking about Nassar.
 “I remember feeling — finally a female would be an advocate for me, and tell my dad and my mom and I won’t have to tell them about this awkward thing,” said the woman, now 35, who has filed a civil lawsuit against Nassar and MSU. “Finally we’re going to get help, something will change and we won’t have to go back to him. But that wasn’t the case. Instead, I felt very shamed.” Boyce also felt intimidated and humiliated, and remembers what Klages said about filing a report. “She said, ‘I can file this, but there are going to be serious consequences for you and Nassar,’” Boyce said.
Now powerful men, more than I can count, have faced a reckoning. But whether anything will change for women in lowly positions -- retail, restaurant and hotel workers -- whose harassers are not famous -- remains to be seen. It will help when the vile and repulsive Donald J. Trump faces justice.


Gay Boyo Bob said...

Great article...thanks.

The teenage girls I get.

The grown women not saying anything or doing anything until years and years later because they wanted to save their careers or something...I don't get. It was apparently worth their dignity at the time....and now it's not?

And the ones that really disturb me the most are the ones that signed a non-disclosure agreement, settled for a pile of cash and NOW they want to break that commitment and join the #metoo movement. They made their choice, took the money and now have decided that it's more advantageous to take a different position.

Gay Boy Bob said...

So, now the focus is on Michigan State and how they possibly enabled Dr. Nassar.

If there was a legal responsibility and duty the university had that they abdicated, there may be a crime here and university employees could be prosecuted...but that's not what will happen.

YOU WATCH...all these women will lawyer up and try to sue the university.

They want MONEY.

When someone tells you, "It's not about the money"....IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT THE MONEY.