Victimizing the Victim Has Got to Stop!

How can it be in 2018 that this is an issue?   Why are we okay with turning a blind eye to the plight of sexual harassment and assault victims?

In this age of MeToo, it seems like a no-brainer to pass an ordinance demanding transparency, so why are the Atlantic County Freeholders opposed?

I suppose you could say we have come along way.  I’m sure many of you in my age range endured sexual harassment and innuendo for many years.  There was no complaining or reporting the perpetrator to Human Resources.  You tolerated it and then went home every night and took a long shower.

So today there are workplace processes and laws that are supposed to ensure a safe and sexual-free workplace.  End of story?  Hardly.  Suppose you have a great working relationship with your male boss and then one day he asks you out to dinner and a movie (or what we used to call “a date”).  At that moment the relationship changes.  What was a relationship based on mutual respect is now a power relationship – male employer, female employee.  Now you are not interested in dating your boss, but in that moment you are thinking, “If I say no I’m tanking my career, but if I say yes, what more will be expect or even worse, what if it doesn’t work out”.  It is a lose/lose predicament that millions of women have found themselves facing and still face today.  If you endure this unwanted relationship and finally report it, there is a chance you will lose your job, but don’t worry, your employer will tell you, you will get a nice settlement.  Of course that settlement comes with a cost – signing of a nondisclosure agreement or NDA – a term that, sadly is ingrained in our vocabulary thanks to our President.  You need this settlement – rent is due and you can’t live on unemployment.  But you don’t want to sign this NDA.  You want to make sure other women do not fall prey to this treatment on the job.  Now you are back in that lose/lose situation.

What is so hard to understand??  From the onset of the incident the victim has no good options and absolutely no power.  Can’t she at least have the choice as to whether to out the offender?  Isn’t that her right?  Again, to even have to spell this out in legislation is a sad commentary on how little we have progressed; but to refuse to even consider legislation is  unconscionable.




Author: Maureen Leidy

I am a proud resident of Ventnor and a member of the Ventnor Democrats and the South Jersey Democratic Women’s Forum. I am a single mother of four adult children, and grandmother to seven. When I am not working, I’m either calling my congressmen, signing petitions or marching in the streets. When I was approached to run, my inclination was to decline, but my daughter bluntly told me, “Put your money where your mouth is. If you don’t run, you are a hypocrite.” As much as I hated to admit it, she was right. So I am running to give a voice to those Atlantic County residents, who, like myself live paycheck to paycheck; who have struggled with the disease of addiction in their family; who have nowhere to turn when they are facing abuse and harassment. I am running to keep our beaches clean and our roads free of flooding. I am running to ensure your children and grandchildren can go to school without fear and receive a quality education. I am running so that my daughters and yours have access to Planned Parenthood. I am running so that all of us, male or female, are treated fairly and paid equally in the workplace. I know it’s an uphill battle, but I’ve always been a fighter. I will fight for your vote and I will fight for the ideals and values that the people of Atlantic County believe in – a safe, affordable community that we are proud to call home.

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