Monday, October 23, 2006

She's So WRONG

Debra and I are bickering - in a most civilized manner of course - about a sexual harassment item. Perhaps I'm just an old fogey. Or perhaps my thinking is more modern than Debra's. Please weigh in on this. I couldn't possibly be WRONG myself....could I?


At 12:48 AM, Anonymous Maxine said...

Hi Susan, your link to the NZ Herald story does not work - I read it via the deblog so I guess it is broken at your end not the NZ Herald's?

We have had quite a few cases like this in the UK already, eg the Clare Swire case mentioned in the article.

My view in general is that we all know that emails can be forwarded by recipients and we shouldn't send idiotic ones and then complain if someone shares it. (No evidence from the NZH story that the guy minded about this). The person who sent the email in this story is not exactly an email novice and, being a lawyer, was very probably aware of these other incidences - ie he knew the risks he was taking in communicating by email on this subject.

I read somewhere about how many person-hours are wasted, and how much computer space and "crash time" is used up, by people sending round jokes and other presonal messages, often with huge attachments, while on work time and using work resources. For exmaple, where I work, one year someone sent round an attachment that when you opened it put fairy lights all round your screen. Everyone loved it so much they all downloaded it, several hundred people, and it crashed our system, so nobody could do any work for hours and the poor IT dept worked overtime sorting it all out.

I know this is a bit off-topic and not exactly what you asked, but these sophisticated people (sophisticated in the sense of being familiar with emails) who do this kind of thing have no sympathy from me -- either party in this case. Sounds to me as if they are just part of a culture where this kind of thing goes on -- happens with texts too. I wouldn't make someone a proposition by email and if someone did it to me I would not think much if anything of them.

I am something of a cynic and I suspect the two people involved in this case are probably quite enjoying the publicity. They'll probably go on chat shows, celebrity Big Brother and write books. (Celebrity Big Brother seemingl so desperate for celebrities that they'd count someone who sent or received a salacious email in their criteria).

At 1:08 AM, Blogger Susan said...

Thank you, Maxine! I'm usually obsessive-compulsive enough to check every link. I guess I didn't this time.

You could be right about the people involved in this incident, however there's still some fairly blatant sexual harassment there and the girl herself would appear to be a member of a more restrained culture.

At 6:18 AM, Blogger Debra Hamel said...

It's funny, but your right: your take on it is either old-fashioned or new-fashioned. My guess is the latter, and that I'm stuck in some kind of 80's mindset.

At 1:52 PM, Blogger Lee said...

OK, I'll add my bit quickly. I agree with Maxine that it's pretty dumb to send such stuff by email, so maybe that was his intent? On the other hand, people do the dumbest things all the time!

At 5:29 PM, Anonymous shaun said...

I agree with debra's perspective. To be harrassment it needs to be unwelcome AND the the guy needs to know that it is unwelcome and still continue. There is nothing in the emails that indicates that this was case.

So yes it may have been offensive (to you obviously), but it is not harrassment. The guy was being honest and upfront about what he would like. Foolishly he put this in writing and now is paying the price. He is guilty of nothing more.

Seeing as you consider this harrassment, how would you suggest he pose the same questions in what you consider an acceptable manner? Or is it that you just dont think that someone should be so honest about what they want?

Remember also this wasn't "out of the blue" - they already knew each other socially. This wasn't a workplace issue - they worked in different workplaces and it was a personal email from one to the other. The only connection with the workplace was that the email was sent to a workplace email address and there is nothing unusual about that.


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