I believe what Eric was referring to is entirely different domain than what you experienced.
What you described, the experiences you had are outright wrong on so many levels I can not even, it’s mind-boggling. In fact, wrong might not even be the correct term, I would use “criminal” to describe what you had to go through. Involving HR, and in most cases you described, cops, would be the absolutely right thing to do. I had to take a moment to actually consume what you wrote here, because, for me, it’s just. I can’t even explain the feeling using words, without using exceptionally long line of profanities.
I believe what Eric was reflecting on, and pretty much that is also my experience unfortunately, HR is now often used as a tool to further political agendas and ones own career in a way that is on the opposite end of reason — using gender, sexual orientation or any other trait from the same set to gain competitive edge, benefit of some kind. “Here, I am special, give me things” kind of approach. Disagreement and different opinion shouldn’t be grounds for HR action. We all have different opinions on some things, and always will have.
But then, there is a line you just don’t step over. Line of plain and simple human decency and common courtesy. Step over that line, and you get penalized for being an ass. This is how it should work, according to my perhaps somewhat naive worldview.
In your case though, that line was not only crossed, but nuked from orbit. IF anyone, ever would allow themselves to do anything even remotely close to that under my supervision, you could observe the fallout of that from lunar orbit. I can not guarantee everyone would have that reaction. But many would, and I would like to hope that majority would.
I had an unfortunate experience some years ago. I was hiring for an engineering position for a firm I was managing at that time. I received application, did a phone interview, and I decided to not continue further with it. Happens all the time, right?… Not that it would be relevant for me, the applicant was a woman. She lacked quite a set of essentials needed for that position and I declined based entirely on that, and obviously, I communicated that, honestly and transparently. What fallowed was months (!!!) of harassment and threats of legal action because apparently I am clearly sexist, misogynist who only wants blonde white guys on payroll. Later, threats materialized to official complaints to state employment board. I had to present evidence that I am not an asshole, or the company would face substantial legal problems. And with substantial I mean possible fines and compensations that would bankrupt the then-tiny enterprise on the spot.
Bottom line is, there is two ends to the stick. Both are covered with sh*t, pardon my expression. Question we really need to reflect on is, what to do about it.