Recently This American Life [March 3rd, 2018] did a full hour radio program about five women who worked for the same man, Don Hazen of Alternet. The investigator, Chana Joffe-Walt explored not only the sexual harassment stories of these five women, but how their personal histories shaped the way they dealt with the harassment.
I listened to these women who ranged in age from late fifties to twenty-one tell their stories of how Hazen, executive at Alternet since the 80s, discovered each of them and gave them a career start. The five women ranged in age from Hazen’s life partner (60s) down the decades. The youngest, fresh out of college, was the whistle blower. Her growing up experience solidified her capacity to say no to unwanted advances and the expectation that she would be treated with respect. The women had stories about how they should expect men to behave and how they should respond that were more accepting of harrassment the older they were.
In time, perhaps four to five years from now, we will have greater understanding about how early childhood conditioning sets women up to be prey to predators.
I am writing a novel about a protagonist whose deep wound was inflicted by her father who predicted she would behave like an out-of-control slut unless she were severely controlled. His treatment of her as a sexual object set her up for a rebellious liaison with a boss years after her teenage violation.
I believe such stories will eventually contribute to how society raised its daughters and helps them own their bodies.