Simon Erskine Locke, Founder & CEO of CommunicationsMatchTM
When it comes to sexual harassment, the PR and communications industry is no different to any other – it’s an issue that needs to be addressed.
As in every other industry, men in particular, have to take a hard look at themselves.
While the attention given to Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Charlie Rose, and now Matt Lauer, could have focused conversations around the abuses of the rich and powerful, the #MeToo movement has driven home the recognition that this is a societal issue.
This is important. The names we see are exemplars of a deeply rooted problem. This is not an accident that we can watch from a distance. We are all part of it.
This does not mean that all men are harassers or that we as an industry have a greater problem than any other walk of life. But, given the number of women who have been subject to abuse, and if we broaden the definition of harassment to include bullying of both sexes or discrimination, there are few of us who have not been or do not know someone who has been a victim.
While it may be tempting to explain actions away through evolutionary psychology – it’s men being cavemen – harassment is conscious, willful and inexcusable.
In his best-selling books, “The Moral Animal” and “Why Buddhism is True,” Robert Wright explains the roots of human behaviors, while highlighting steps, including meditation, to understand and address them.
This is a time to think about and, yes, meditate on (in whatever sense works for you), what we are seeing in society.
We need to look in the mirror, seek to understand ourselves and our actions, and be better.
Is this a truth and reconciliation moment? Maybe.
But, we should be clear that where crimes have been committed, perpetrators need to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
This is a time to throw stones in glass houses.
As women, and others impacted by harassment have shown, we must not fear sharing stories, and where necessary, right wrongs, so we – as a society – can move forward.
Some creative destruction will be required if we are to avoid the drip, drip of scandal… and more victims of harassment.
Note: For the latest CommunicationsMatch Communicators-to-Communicators 3-Minute Insights Video, I interview, David Wagner, a leading crisis and media trainer on how companies should prepare for a Sexual Harassment Crisis. Click here to watch the video.