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Emotional Intelligence Sexual Harassment

WHERE’S THE LINE BETWEEN A COMPLIMENT AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT?

If you’re not clear about the line between a compliment and sexual harassment,

you might get in trouble.

“It wasn’t my intention!” he said, while putting his hands in the air to show me that his intention was non-sexual and that I was the one misunderstanding his gesture. Does this scenario look familiar to you?

Let me share with you a personal story.

I once met a woman called Amanda (name changed). We met because our daughters were the kind of friends who often had sleep-overs at each other’s place.

My daughter loved going to Amanda’s house; they had a big swimming pool and they threw pool parties.

Amanda often said that she was blessed being married to her husband; they had been together for over a decade.

I felt happy for Amanda and her family. Personally, I was going through a divorce at the time and longed to see a positive example of a loving primary relationship.

One day, Amanda’s husband placed his right hand firmly on my lower back and left it there! I was so shocked that I froze.

Have you ever felt confused by someone else’s gesture?

Not knowing what to do, I ran to the kitchen where Amanda was and I stayed by her side the rest of the evening.

Months went by before, Amanda and I saw each other again. This time, it was at her daughter’s birthday party at her place.

Upon ringing the doorbell to their house, Amanda’s husband opened the door. “Come in,” he said smiling.  “You look beautiful!” he added, while eyeing me up and down.

Back then (over ten years ago), I wasn’t the woman I am today, so I said nothing.

Amanda’s husband took a step towards me and I took a step away from him. He said, “I don’t bite, Anne. I just said you’re beautiful.”

Replaying his words in my mind, I started wondering,

“Am I the one crazy here?” 

Is this sexual harassment? 

Winter came, then it was replaced by another summer. Once again, my daughter was doing cannon balls in Amanda’s pool.

When I went to pick her up one late afternoon, I came face to face with Amanda’s husband. He was home early and Amanda wasn’t there.

“Eh! Where you going? Stay! Have a drink!!” he said to me when he saw me retreat my steps towards the front door.

I walked faster but he blocked my exit by putting his arm across the door.   “You’re beautiful, you know that? Can’t believe you’re single!”

Amanda’s husband then bent over and tried to kiss me, but I physically ducked and the kiss smacked empty over my head. “What the hell!” I said angrily. To which he replied, “It wasn’t my intention!”

Let me ask you,

Where is the line between a compliment and sexual harassment?

 

When someone places their hand onto someone else’s lower back, what does it mean?

Placing our hand on someone’s lower back usually indicates 

a deliberate show of affection or an implied want for possession

This is why some people view this gesture as a compliment while others see it as aggression.

When someone says, “You’re beautiful!” what does it mean?

Being told “You’re beautiful!” usually indicates a form of 

physical attraction in a sexual or non-sexual manner. 

 

When someone says, “It wasn’t my intention!” what does it mean?

We usually say “It wasn’t not my intention!” after being caught doing something wrong

Therefore,

Where is the line between a compliment and sexual harassment?

The line is simple:

Ask yourself,

‘Would I perform the same gestures onto people 

with the same sexual orientation as me?’

For example:

If you are a heterosexual man:

  • Are you okay with placing your hand onto another heterosexual man’s lower back and firmly leave it there? 

  • Would you look at a heterosexual man and say over and over again, “You’re beautiful!”?

  • Do you accept kissing a heterosexual man on the lips?

If you (a heterosexual man) have answered no to any or all of these questions, then what might be your intent if you are performing these gestures onto heterosexual women who are NOT in a committed romantic relationship with you? Could it be that your intent was sexual in nature?

As a heterosexual woman, I do put my hand onto another woman’s back as a sign of affection, I do tell my girlfriends they are beautiful and sexy. I also do kiss some women on the lips sometimes to show my closeness to them. Can I do the same thing with heterosexual men? Absolutely! I am clear on the line between a heartfelt compliment and sexual harassment because

No one wants to experience sexual harassment anywhere.

My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach who assists clients in establishing and enforcing healthy emotional boundaries. You can connect with me at https://walkinginside.com/contact-us/

Your EQ coach,
Anne
www.walkinginside.com
Photo by Anika Huizinga on Unsplash
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IS LINKEDIN BECOMING THE NEW TINDER?

Have you ever received a message from one of your LinkedIn contacts? In that moment, where were you physically? Were you at the office sitting at your desk? Were you standing at home with your toddler in your arms? Perhaps your spouse or teenager walked into the room as you were checking your messages? Keep these scenarios in mind as you read on…
 
One of my LinkedIn contacts, S. D., sent me a message in which he shared how his mother had recently died. He said he was feeling lost’ and needed ‘empathy’. Since we all go through turbulent moments sometimes, I messaged him with words I trust are compassionate. I received the following response from him, “this is what I meant by empathy in message. sorry im not happy doing this or when I’m not doing this. please have empathy. thanks”. 
 
To assist you in getting what S.D. was saying by ‘this is what I meant by empathy’, know that he sent me a full profile close-up picture of an erect penis. The picture was taken at such a close range that pubic hair and veins were easily discernible or perhaps it was just my big Mac screen tricking my eyes?
 
 

Do you consider racy pictures a rare occurrence on LinkedIn?

 
 
For many of my business contacts, including myself, this is actually a common reality. In the course of business, many of us get solicited by what I call ‘The Invisible Crowd’, the men and women who believe they need to show racy pictures in order to get our attention.
 
 
S.D. seems quite young, early 20s, about the same age as my adult son. You might wonder,
 
 

Could young adults be the only ones sharing racy pictures on LinkedIn?

The answer is NO.

 
 
Let me introduce to you D.L. who is in his late 30s apparently. In his message to me, he said that he found me ‘hot’  and wanted to ‘f*ck  me’. Perhaps wanting to make sure I really got what he was saying, I got one penis picture (sparing you this one again) and a series of chest / muscles pictures (like the one included with this article). The difference between him and S.D. is that S.D. messaged me directly on LinkedIn and D.L. took my business cell phone from my LinkedIn profile to text me his ‘information’.
 
 

Is LinkedIn becoming the new Tinder?

 
Meet D. S., a businessman I presume to be in his 40s based on the fully clothed picture of himself that accompanied his email. Here is what he had to say after checking my profile on LinkedIn and grabbing my business email from the LinkedIn network:
 

  “… I must confess you are pretty…”

“… I understand the medium is a business networking medium and not a dating or social networking website and i don’t intend to use it for one .”

“…hope to learn more about you too that is if you are single…”

 
 
Still not convinced about the lack of ethical behaviour some LinkedIN users are displaying? Let’s ask A.W. to see what he has to say. A.W. claims he is in his 50s and, like D.S., checked my LinkedIn profile then grabbed my business email from there:
 

“I read your profile on linked-in and you caught my eye…”

“This is all new for me, it is the  first time i would ever go against protocol of doing business only on the Linked-in website.”

“You should check me out and let me know what you think.”

 
 
Some people are shocked when I share with them the level of unethical behaviour I am at times encountering on LinkedIn from men and women of all ages. Like me, they have also seen instances where people have spoken up against racy pictures or trolling emails, saying that, “LinkedIn is Not the new Tinder.”
 
My name is Anne Beaulieu and I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach. Though I am skilled at addressing potential unethical behaviours in the workplace, many business professionals are not as they have shared with me in private sessions.
 

Now, to the people behaving like predators on LinkedIn, here is what I have to say:

 

Saying that you do not know you are behaving unethically, 

when the evidence clearly says you do know,

 is a terrible defence. 

 
 
If you want to lie to yourself, feel free to do so. Just don’t lie to me.
 

According to the Canadian Mental Health Commission of Canada, in any given year:

  • 1/5 in Canada experiences a mental health problem or illness, with a cost of over $50 BILLION to the economy.

  • Only 1/3 who experience a mental health problem or illness report that they have sought and received services and treatment.

  • In the workplace, mental health problems and illnesses typically account for approximately 30% of short- and long-term disability.

  • Mental health problems and illnesses are rated one of the top three drivers of both short- and long-term disability claims by more than 80% of Canadian employers.

  • As early as 2010, mental health conditions were responsible for 47% of all approved disability claims in the federal civil service, almost double the percentage of twenty years earlier.

  • Mental health problems and illnesses also account for more than $6 billion in lost productivity.

 
This is just Canada… Now imagine what the numbers must be like in the USA with their population 10X bigger than Canada’s…
 
Just for fun, let’s do a quick math… Let’s take a Canadian company of 1,000 employees…

  • 200 (1/5) employees are currently experiencing a mental health problem or illness.

  • Since only 33% are seeking treatment (33% x 200 = 66), this means 134 (200-66) are playing ostrich. What does playing ostrich mean? Playing ostrich means answering ‘I’m fine!’ when one’s world is actually collapsing on the inside.

Now, for these 134 employees refusing to acknowledge they might need more emotional intelligence tools and techniques… maybe you even know someone in this situation right now…
 

What is the cost to your company for short- and long-term disability pay-out? 

 

What is the cost to your company in lost productivity?

 

What is the cost to your company in potential harassment lawsuits?

 
Before answering, bear in mind I received these pictures during business hours and these four persons were most likely sitting at their office desk, maybe even across you…
 

But perhaps… worst of all…

 

What is the cost to you for having been exposed to predator behaviours?

Emotionally?

Financially?

Physically?

Spiritually? 

 
What is the cost to your spouse or your child who happened to be in the same room as you when you checked your LinkedIn messages and got greeted by an erect penis, physical chest, or close-up vagina?
 
Let me get something straight…
 
 

It’s not because you may not see it in your own LinkedIn inbox 

that racy pictures/emails/texts do not exist 

within your business network or company. 

 
 

Playing ostrich to predator behaviour

not only condones this behaviour (agreement by looking the other way), 

it has the potential of becoming extremely costly to you and your company.

 
 
Since people suffering from mental illness cost the Canadian economy $50 BILLION IN ANY GIVEN YEAR, what are these 134 employees truly costing a 1,000 employees company?
 
Assuming that total claims by overall employees equal $500,000 (I am being extremely generous by stating a low number as an example) and 47% are mental related claims, we are looking at a ballpark number of $235,000 (47% x $500,000)
 
Without a doubt, $235,000 is a lot of money that could have been contributed generously to any financial bottom line or even your year-end bonus.
 
By hiring me as your Emotional Intelligence Coach, spending $50,000- $75,000 to ensure your employees understand, live, and uphold strong emotional boundaries is a relatively small fee to pay compared to $235,000 with a raining chance of even more costly harassment lawsuits. From where I am sitting, it looks like a financial savings of 80%+.
 

Is LinkedIn becoming the new Tinder?

Are you truly prepared to find out?

 
My name is Anne Beaulieu. I am an Emotional Intelligence Coach and Authentic Speaker who can be reached at anne@walkinginside.com. Let’s make Emotional Intelligence a growing asset within your company instead of you incurring a predator-type liability.
 
Respectfully,
Anne
P.S. If you wish to receive the names of these four persons behaving like predators to ensure they are never part of your business network, kindly let me know. I do have pictures and emails to support what I have shared in this article.
 
www.walkinginside.com
www.fullmontyleadership.com