In the Webster’s Dictionary there are general definitions for harassment. It is a derivative of the root word harass. Harass is a verb that in some cases means to annoy. It can also be defined as to exhaust or to fatigue. But in the case of harassment it is frequently used to mean the act of annoying or being annoyed. It is a commonly used word and almost everyone alive today believes that they have been harassed by or have harassed someone else. Many of us have been guilty of both. Harassment can vary in degree of intensity and identifying harassment may vary from one time to all the time. It is subject to individual interpretation.
In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was enacted by Congress and became law. In 1965 the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission followed. In this government organization the law prohibiting harassment was defined. Click here to access the federal governments broad definition of Harassment. The government, at that time, began dealing with complaints about harassment at all levels of society including within the government. Penalties for harassment were enacted and for several years after that it appeared that the government actions were effective. Nonetheless, two and a half generations later, once again, our society is on the brink of a new crisis involving harassment.
But what circumstances brought about the heightened awareness of harassment and why are people, especially women, coming forth with complaints about sexual harassment? The answers up to this point are unclear. Some believe that increased awareness of the laws caused people who previously feared coming forward, to reopen old wounds. Deep, long suppressed feelings of anger have found an outlet kept hidden for long periods of time. Like a spark in a dry forest, a conflagration of emotion has erupted among victims. The spark that lighted the firestorm was a well known mogul in the entertainment industry. After the thorough admonishment of this mogel, many other names of prominent men began to appear almost daily in the media. Now there is a long list of accused predators with their necks on the guillotine.
Another question on the minds of many people is, why almost overnight, are women and men coming forward so many years later? There have been explanations of this phenomena. Reasons like, I was afraid no one would believe me, or I just wanted it to stop. But it appears that the root cause was ignited during the Presidential campaign. The prevailing image was that the current President of the United States is a predator. Being elected without any consequences triggered an outrage among women in this country. It is likely that this lack of action inflamed victims and motivated them to come forth. Once people began to speak out the liberal media wasted no time fanning the flame.
Daily now, it is sure that most Americans peruse the morning news to see who will be accused today. The accusations will die out in time. However, with the advent of multiple gender identities, recognizing what is harassment and what is not will have an enormous effect on society. There will be changes in how we act with one another and in our laws. This along with all the other changes in our society will bring about a world alien to all of us alive today.