Column: Time to Listen

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Marcus LeGrand

By Marcus LeGrand | The Broadside (Contact: Mlegrand2@cocc.edu)

Men of the world, I get it. As long as we can remember, we’ve been taught that if a woman is in distress or need, we need to be that knight in shining armor who comes in to save the day.  

But today, I want you to do me a favor. Find a chair, take a seat and do the one thing that women have asked to do for centuries: listen and do not try to solve the problem.

Since the initial accusations from Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer and other prominent men in our country, the scandals have shed a light and it seems to have opened a floodgate with many people coming forward to discuss their experiences of sexual harassment/assault.

In the fifth issue of The Broadside, we discussed how the influence of the #MeToo campaign and the courageousness of many sexual harassment survivors sparked a consciousness that gave people an understanding of the magnitude of the issue.

In many workplace and social environments, the current procedure is help to aide and educate all involved about the policy and procedures. Many come out more knowledgeable, but for the victim, has the distributor of the information done their due diligence to help them navigate through the stigma of being the producer of change?

As men, we have a tendency to always want to help women with an issue, based on our desire to be in control. Some may disagree with this, but after watching others try to solve issues it allows for relevant discussion and pertinent insight.

As previous sexual harassment flashed throughout American history, men said  that we were listening, but were we engaged? In a “Scientific American” article, “Does Sexual Harassment Training Really Work”, they looked into the what possibly causes this behavior and if they are truly listening.

Their findings mentioned that “Despite its ubiquity, the law involving harassment offers no special reward for trainings to prevent and raise a consciousness of sexual harassment—and popular culture does nothing but mock the concept. But studies suggest that training can help, particularly if its goals reflect the knowledge gained from research.”

Does this alleviate the concern and prompt the hierarchy to identify a need for change and create a culture that accepts social norms that exist in many environments?

So here are a few things that will benefit your opportunity to help.

  1. Listen to each individual’s perspective, this will allow them the opportunity to heal, vent or naturally be heard.
  2. Listen again to make sure you have a complete understanding of what the issues entails.
  3. Have compassion and concern to the problem at hand, and when your inner self tells you have a comprehensive solution, stop, listen and include a diverse group of people to create boundaries.  

For centuries, men with power have understood that balance of power has been in their court. But, as more and more cases arise in sexual abuse cases, hopefully changes in social norms will transcend our society.

For comments or rebuttal, please feel email me at mlegrand2@cocc.edu ■

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