Part Two of leftover questions from my online chat “Sexual Messages,” (Nov. 19):
A woman in our office (small, close working group, mostly males) likes to play the femme fatale.
She dresses to show off her figure, and is always quick with the suggestive comment or somewhat off-colour joke. She’s also very touchy-feely and will pat someone on the arm when talking closely.
Everyone laughs at her comments, but as a married man aware of the current atmosphere about sexual harassment in the workplace, I wonder at what point someone should talk to her.
But I’m worried it’ll bring tensions that divide our group.
She has this manner with everyone, which is different from targeting one person in a sexual manner.
However, office environments are wisely changing from the bad old days, when bawdy jokes were tossed around to see who could be embarrassed or belittled.
Talk to senior management about what the company is saying or doing on this topic, and bring that information to your group.
You don’t have to spotlight this woman’s behaviour…. yet. But if she continues to cross the line that’s deemed appropriate, then senior personnel should be told.
I’m a male high-school student in my graduating year and I hear a lot of stuff that’s said about girls in our school, among the guys.
It’s very rough talk about what they’d like to do to the girls, what they think the girls are willing to do, what they heard about this one or that one, all said in pretty derogatory terms.
I know a lot of it’s like gorillas beating their chests, but I have two sisters and was brought up to respect and watch out for them, so it disgusts me.
But what can one guy do or say, among a crowd of others, to change their attitudes? I don’t want to be labeled gay or a wuss (I’m neither).
Walk away. You’re not one of those “gorillas” and the other guys know it.
However, if you hear anything that sounds like a particular girl(s) may be targeted for trouble, report this to a school official. If you don’t, you may regret that forever.
Since you’re a senior, raise the idea for student council to discuss sexual harassment, bullying, and assault to female students as well as male. Prepare a case for making this request.
Tell them that Ontario’s Human Rights Code has provisions on this topic. One example: Even one minor distributing sexual content like sext-messages or photos of another minor, is open to criminal charges.
If your student council’s weak, suggest the idea to the school guidance department, health teacher, and principal, and explain, without pointing the finger, that this discussion’s more needed than they realize.
Reader – The "responses from readers" who’ve survived marital/relationship breakdown, have been really helpful to me.
I recently left my husband after 37 years together. It was the hardest decision I ever made.
But I had to do it to maintain my own self-respect. It’s been worse than a death. Not only do you feel loss, loneliness, and guilt, but you have little support.
I find people you knew together make a quick turnaround when they see you coming. They’re uncomfortable confronting it, expected you to stick it out, so don't know what to say.
I’m absorbing those readers’ comments every day and cutting them out to re-read and write down goals to help me move forward.
FEEDBACK A view of your column from the “other side:”
Reader – “I always enjoy your common-sense replies to some peoples’ “problems.” By contrast, my wife has had cardiovascular issues, fibromyalgia, and cancer.
We were thrown out of jobs (site-resident superintendants) as she couldn't continue to work.
One topic that I can't help reading without a big laugh out loud is sex and seniors.
It makes good reading, but most of us in the "real world" aren’t having “great sex” as some barracudas and cougars are crowing about.
A nice morning cuppa’ and reading the newspaper together is enough.
Then, as a rehab counsellor “in remission” I shout a reply to some of your submitters: “Just say NO! Boot the liar out!'
But, you being trained and seasoned in the ranks, give excellent “prescriptions.”
Ellie – Couldn’t resist sharing your humour. You’re lucky to have each other! But remember, these “problems” are serious enough for some.
Tip of the day:
Promote awareness of sexual harassment and violence within your own environment at work, school, or home.