By Gretchen Carlson
This is not a partisan issue, it’s a cultural one. Boorish behavior transcends ideology and political lines, despite the fact that there are many who seek to blame Democrats for Harvey Weinstein’s behavior or Republicans for Bill O’Reilly’s. It is not liberal to ask for a workplace where you are not fondled or groped. It’s not conservative to expect to meet with a man without having him dangle his hotel key or ask you to sit on his lap while he has an erection. It’s why I’m working with both parties to craft a bipartisan bill to take the secrecy out of sexual-harassment cases where women in the workplace have been forced to sign mandatory arbitration clauses. Please call your member of Congress to say you want to support this!
Yet all of us — Republicans, Democrats, and Independents alike — endure and even rationalize harassment because we are taught that women are inferior. A recent study showed that by age six, girls believe men are more likely than women to say something “smart”! By first grade, little girls have already internalized a feeling of inferiority. The result is a society where women still earn about 80 percent of what men earn in the workplace, and a pervasive sense that our voice doesn’t matter.
This also leads too many men to feel it is OK to mistreat women. So not only do most harassment claims go unreported, but one in five undergraduate women say they’ve experienced sexual assault. (And most don’t tell the school or police: only 12.5 percent of rapes are reported.)