Letter: Speak out to deter sexual harassment

Write to Mountain Xpress
Graphic by Lori Deaton

I appreciated your article “The Tipping Point: Sexual Harassment Is Rampant in Local Restaurants,” in [Xpress’] June 6 edition. Thank you for shining a light on the additional challenge of sexual harassment that (primarily) women have to deal with in the already challenging hospitality business.

Despite that, there was one idea that I did not find helpful in a quote from one of the women you interviewed. Talking about potentially reporting a man who was making unwanted advances, she stated, “I’m not going to ruin that person‘s life: I don’t want them to not … have a job.“ This quote shows the negative power of victim-blaming: It causes the person who has been wronged to feel some responsibility for the other person’s actions. I don’t want to add to the blame or shame that this woman feels; however, it is worth speaking out in an attempt to decrease the victim-blaming part of this cycle, which allows sexual harassment and abuse to continue.

While the times are changing in a positive direction, I also understand that social structures can still make women feel powerless in these situations. I also understand that woman are often told that it is wrong for them to report such behavior and that it would be their fault if the person doing the harassing/abusing faces any negative consequences.

As a man myself, I want to put the message out there that a person’s behavior is that person’s responsibility. If a person does something wrong or illegal, it is not your fault if they go to jail or lose their job after you report their behavior. It is their fault for committing the crime in the first place.

If you do feel helpless, please know that is not true. There are people who can and will support you. I am not affiliated with Our VOICE, but they are one such source of support, and I know they help people. They can be reached 24 hours at 828-255-7576.

— James “Buck“ Schall
Asheville

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27 thoughts on “Letter: Speak out to deter sexual harassment

  1. Lou

    Wow….way to be an advocate for women. You are awesome and your wife/daughters/sister(s)/all women everywhere are lucky to have you on their (our) side. HUGS!

  2. Lulz

    LOL white knighting is why you guys are shoulders to cry on. And nothing more. Women aren’t as innocent or powerless as this letter presumes. And the assumption that standing up for women gets you points is funny. Cause you guys still end up alone while some player has all the fun.

  3. Stan Hawkins

    I find your article very refreshing and I believe you are correct, in particular the “fourth paragraph.” May I just add, this issue is a part of a greater issue of security of citizens well worth noting. May I dare to assume that you and I would agree on that same premise, “fourth paragraph “ as it applies to the security of our southern border of these United States?

    Thanks.

    • Jason

      Through them all in jail!

      Now that Trump has complete control over the Supreme Court for the rest of our lives, things are going to CHANGE!

  4. boatrocker

    My plan for never getting ‘METOOED”-
    sarcasm yet sad but true:
    Respect, but act aloof, don’t touch, don’t make
    pervy comments, don’t do anything gross with a houseplant
    but let the ladies do the heavy lifting.
    By that, that air of mystery brings them to me.
    One at a time, no, I’m not a player.
    If ladies know quality, let them find it.
    Mention the Isle of Drambuie
    (comedy movie reference).

    I know, I must be a sexist oinker.

  5. boatrocker

    This is written in a comedic way so don’t give me that Terms of Agreement schtick-
    How does any Vickers post turn from issue commented upon into
    “Wellllll, I remember back when there was this one guy who told this one joke and
    heeeheeeee”?

    All I know is that when I lugged a bunch of equipment out of a club a few years ago
    (I obviously had my hands full and was not in the mood for being underpaid to be Senor Rapey McRapeyPants) on the way to my car and I saw a 20-something female on the sidewalk take out her keys and put them between her knuckles like she was going to gouge an eye or ahem something worse.
    I yelled “In your dreams baby, my girlfriend would kick your ass if you even smiled at me!”

  6. Tsalagi Sister

    Interesting watching this debate…
    Not really an empathetic discussion.
    Yet, in Asheville, I expect disrespect.
    Reported sexual assault of my child.
    We were harassed for years to shut up about it.
    Not one person in this county cares. My child is lost to me now.
    Sexual harassment nor assault, are not humorous except for insensitive idiots.

    • boatrocker

      Is that why the now infamous Red Hen restaurant now has a sign on the chalkboard inside
      that says “We like our chicken the way we like our kids- cage free.”?
      Those heartless ‘insensitive idiots’.

  7. Tsalagi Sister

    Laughing and making light of this topic is not okay. I lost my daughter because males added their desires were more important than her life.
    Insensitive stupid comments her show just what survivors are up against
    My own father, because he was well connected, navies toddlers for thirty years till caught red handed.

    You guys got some nerve debating what you haven’t lived through.

    The shame is the perpetrators, not mine.

    • boatrocker

      And yet I agree in print harassment/assault is wrong and yet you peer from an ivory tower to determine what is humor-worthy or not and yet this is why many comics (clean ones like Seinfeld too!) refuse to play college campuses for rolling their eyes at the hair trigger-triggered.

  8. B.E.Vickroy

    LUTZ one last ‘poke’ – as regards the lonely state of dirty old men [DOM] – to paraphrase Dr. Henry Higgins –“Poor DOM, how simply frightful, How humiliating, how* *DELIGHTFUL!”
    Or said another way – TOO BAD, SO SAD! Oh my, can ‘playful’ old you detect a little anger even YEARS after the events? You bet!

  9. Phillip Williams

    Of course there ought to be some balance and a rational application of the old notion of “innocent until proven guilty” – my favorite fictional barrister, John Mortimer’s Horace Rumpole, put it pretty well in “Rumpole and the Honorable Member”:

    “Oh, I see. You think it’s enough if SHE says it? It’s a different sort of crime, is it? I mean, not like murder or shoplifting, or forging cheques. They still have to be proved in the old-fashioned way. But rape… Some dotty girl only has to SAY you did it and you trot off to chokey without asking embarrassing questions?”

  10. B.E.Vickroy

    Phillip – Fictional characters can sometimes get to the NUT of an issue better than we can. As long over-due is the attention/regard to the whole spectrum of harassment, the #Me too! movement is playing into old Rumpole’s ‘she said — off to the chokey’ scenario. And by so doing, cheapens the REAL claims of REAL offenses. Fact is that long after the event, DNA can’t sort things out, and one is left with the he ‘said/she said’ thing. And that’s a GIGANTIC can of worms, swinging into the pendulum of public passions – and goodbye due process.

  11. Phillip Williams

    Yes – and the reaction to some of the allegations, etc., has been interesting to say the least. For instance, I haven’t heard another thing about Garrison Keillor’s alleged sexual improprieties – and even what I have heard consisted of one person’s complaint – with very few details other than Mr. Keillor’s own statements. And MPR has effectively erased the man’s entire artistic legacy after working for them for nearly 50 years.

    I have not exactly “followed” the case, so perhaps more information came out – doubtless there is some newshound here who will educate me shortly – but on the face of it, the appearance is that Mr. Keillor was tried, convicted and condemned solely in the court of public opinion – and that MPR jumped on that Bandwagon du Jour that I mentioned in another thread.

  12. Peter Robbins

    But cheer up. I’m sure you’ll find another Plainte du Jour. Any day now.

  13. Phillip Williams

    Thank you for the info – although I didn’t think I was plaint-ing, only observer-ing – and admettre-ing that I hadn’t been following the Keillor drama.

    At any rate, I figured I might dependent de vous to bring me up to speed.

  14. B.E.Vickroy

    SAM — I think that MPR stands for Minnesota Public Radio, but yes GK was on NPR … YIKES ….too many acronyms to keep track of.

  15. Phillip Williams

    Mr. Sam….Mr Keillor’s longtime relationship was with MPR – Minnesota Public Radio….it is a member of the NPR network . Take a quick gander at the link Mr. Robbins provided….

  16. Phillip Williams

    Yes – MPR is Minnesota Public Radio – NPR is National Pinko Radio (just kidding – I have been a dedicated listener for 30+ years)….

  17. B.E.Vickroy

    Your bringing to mind Garrison Keillor sent me online to find some of the wonderful adverts . Timeless!
    Powder milk Biscuits [they’re tasty, and expeditious.]
    Prairie Dog Granola Bars (“healthier than chewing tobacco and you don’t have to spit”)
    Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery (“If you can’t find it at Ralph’s, you can probably get along without it”)
    Bebopareebop rhubarb pie [erase the taste of humiliation and shame]
    EARL’S ACADAMY OF ACCENTS
    https://youtu.be/E3e_fsMC8E4

  18. Phillip Williams

    I used to love the “joke shows” where they’d reel off nonstop one-liners, knock-knock jokes, blonde jokes, lightbulb jokes….and “Lives of the Cowboys” and “Guy Noir, Private Eye”…..Lake Wobegon, where the women are strong, the men are good-looking, and the children are above average….. I just can’t get into “Live From Here” the same – except Tom Papa’s “Out in America” bit on the show – that about makes me stop breathing every time – the guy is hilarious!

  19. B.E.Vickroy

    Giving credit where genius is due … Lake Wobegon is timeless. The ability to make people laugh [even at themselves] is a real gift. HOWEVER – Back to the original subject of this thread … a letter about being more willing to pay attention to the kinds of harassment that women deal with in the workplace. And a cynical, chauvinistic comment, which prompted my out-of-line remarks. [deleted] Sorry.

    It’s probable that the #METOO thing is catching the innocent along with the guilty. Lutz is both correct that not ALL of the women coming “out” with stories about sexual harassment are “innocent or powerless “. And incorrect to fail to acknowledge the real distress caused by “players having fun” at the expense of those who are fearful of losing a job. Many innocent women/girls who neither dress nor act in a provocative way, are the object of those cruel “players”. Who, in my opinion wind up as lonely “dirty old men”. Or that would be just deserts, anyway.

  20. boatrocker

    Yeah, because a ripped physical powerhouse likeKeillor is really going to force himself upon a woman.
    I’m over this. I sound like a MAGA type (Noooope! Nevah!)
    but there’s a mathematical formula for modern living:

    Real issue+social media= mass hysteria.
    Sadly I have heard plenty of women cry about
    woman on woman sexual harassment but that does
    not generate clickbait.

    PS Vickory, stay on target/topic vs. reminiscing.
    Anyone with a laptop can easily find references to stuff after 1937 too.

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