What would I say to Harvey Weinstein? Nothing. That species only deserves to be ignored.
What would I say to the guys I trust and respect? Again, nothing. They must have done something to earn the respect and trust. I will continue to enjoy casual and careless chatter with them, without fear of repercussions. I just hope they do nothing to break that trust.
What would I say to the multitudes who fall somewhere in between?
- Please work at developing a fair reputation. You carry an additional burden, for the wrongs that your brethren have committed. You are inheritors of a collective shame, with a long history of violence and crimes against women. So, take that first step in helping women to trust you again. And don’t make a drama out of it to embarrass others. Let it show in your manners, in your steadfastness, and mutual respect.
- You may not know what it is like to be in a woman’s shoes. All the women out there are not your mother, sister or daughters. But, your family and loved ones are a reference point to help you understand, for sure. How would you like others to treat them?
- Certain cultures carry a flaw – people continue to insist that you have something, even when others politely refuse. It could be food, drinks or something else. It is seen as a form of hospitality, generosity or affection. But the problem is – a NO is not being taken as a NO. People erroneously think that the naysayer is just enroute to a final YES. The behavior gets carried over to other aspects of life, and it needs to be corrected. Women are not coy anymore. They are explicit in their affection if they like you. If they do, seek necessary permissions. Do not leave anything to chance (I thought so…). If they don’t, please stay off personal boundary lines.
- Women who need a job, business or some other help from you are not easy prey to be stalked. They can turn the tables on you, maybe at a later date, destroying your career and reputation to smithereens.
- Women are not a sum of body parts meant to please you, and you are not God’s gift to women.
- If you head a family, club or organization, please treat sexual misconduct at par with other financial, legal or compliance irregularities. It is not a matter to be swept under the carpet. Supporting the guilty proves that you fall in the same abhorrent category. Power and wealth do not compensate for a lack of humanity or respect. Quoting examples of many others who have done it and got away, is not an excuse. Might is Right is a statement of brute force, not organizational culture. Please do not hide behind the excuse that complaints have not been received. Women have lost trust in the process of grievance redressal, and are reluctant to come out in the open. Act on circumstantial evidence, and chuck out the criminals.
- Parents have been blamed for a flawed upbringing of sons. IMHO, the concepts of ‘macho’ and ‘sissy’ come more from the peer group. Most families (other than the dysfunctional ones) do not inculcate this kind of entitlement. The ‘boy talk’ needs to change, if the culture has to change. Let your success show in other walks of life. Derive your self-worth from achievements in academics, sports, art, career or business, not the number of women you have bedded.
If you still feel you are ‘entitled’ to certain privileges, see a counselor. Your mental health will jeopardize your life and career. Go for de-addiction.