Thank you, Lindsey, for speaking out. Society is changing. No one should continue to believe powerful men (or women) can behave badly without consequences. The courage of each of those who share their stories will pave the way to a better future.
One challenge is figuring out new rules everyone can be aware of and follow. For so long, many in power believed their behaviors were acceptable as those who knew were at best silent, and often enabling. Those beliefs led to the end of my parents’ marriage more than half a century ago. As far as I know, none of my father’s friends or colleagues ever criticized behaviors that were humiliating and ultimately unbearable for my mother.
At a minimum, the rules have to clearly define what’s acceptable behavior, what isn’t, how concerns and questions can be safely addressed, a required timeline for reporting, and the ability for someone who feels abused to get the highest level of attention when needed. At the social services agency I lead, an employment prerequisite is agreeing to follow a shared code of ethics that emphasizes personal responsibility to those who are vulnerable. Of course, an ethical code on paper is only a beginning.
At the same time, many of America's married (and divorced) couples first met at work. We need to be able to distinguish those who abusively (and potentially criminally) use power and control to harm subordinates, others whose loneliness, stress or fatigue can lead to bad decisions, from those who may mistakenly believe their words or actions are invited.
All of those whose lives have been impacted by abuse in the workplace have much to contribute in shaping the society our children will ultimately inherit. It must be one where it’s safe to send our daughters and sons into their careers without fearing they will be abused by those who are responsible for their safety and well-being. Please continue contributing to the safer, saner, more loving world we know is possible.