FORDHAM STUDENTS JOIN “#ME TOO” MOVEMENT IN RESPONSE TO RECENT ALLEGATIONS
Allegations against prominent figures in politics and entertainment, such Harvey Weinstein, Louis C. K., and Roy Moore, have brought sexual harassment and assault to the forefront of American discourse. The recent events have inspired the #MeToo movement, a social media campaign which encourages survivors of sexual harassment and assault to post the two-word hashtag to raise awareness for this widespread and seldom discussed issue.
“Silence Breakers,” the individuals that come forward in the face of harassment and assault, have recently been named TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year for 2017. While the #MeToo movement and Silence Breakers stand against inappropriate behavior in any environment, the allegations against some of Hollywood’s and D.C.’s top men point to an abuse of power in the workplace.
In 2011, Florida State University professors Jonathan W. Kunstman and Jon K. Maner published research which found that being put in a position of power changes how an individual treats and perceives those around him or her. In their study, Kunstman and Maner found that employers constantly over perceived the sexual interest of an opposite sex employee. The perceptions of heightened sexuality then led to those in power to act out inappropriately toward their subordinates.
According to research conducted by ABC News/Washington Post, an estimated 33 million American women have experienced sexual harassment in the work environment, which is about one third of women in the United States. These numbers rise to over half of the women in America when unwanted sexual advancement in the workplace is included.
Current and former Fordham students, Adriana Gallina (‘17), Ally McNamara (‘18), and Leela Mitra (‘19), share their personal experiences with harmful power dynamics and sexual harassment in the workplace, adding their voice to a national collective saying, “Me too.”
TRANSCRIPT OF VIDEO
LEELA MITRA: It’s always been a looming shadow in every single aspect of a woman’s life. Whether it’s their school life, or their professional lives, like their careers, it’s always there. It’s just that the story never came out until now. At this point, I expect to be harrassed.
LM: My name is Leela Mitra, I am 20 years old, and I’m a student.
ALLY MCNAMARA: My name is Ally McNamara, I’m 21 years old, and I’m a student at Fordham University and I’m also an intern.
ADRIANA GALLINA: My name is Adriana Gallina, I am 22 years old, and I’m working in communications and marketing for the nonprofit sector.
LM: My boss, everytime I would come in would make comments about my outfits or my appearance. He wouldn’t even do it to any of the other people, and I was one of one of two or three girls who were the only ones in the whole group of the internship who experienced this, so it was clearly some sort of pass at the girls.
AM: I worked in a grocery store a couple years ago that happened. There were a lot of older guys in the back taking, like, our pictures off our Facebook and sending them around and, like, photoshopping themselves into it. It was just super weird and there was one guy in the back who went up to my friend and was like, “When you turn 18, I’m taking you out!” I ran off the register crying.
AG: Men in power use their power to prey on people who they have power over.
INTERVIEWER: Is there any instance that comes to mind about someone abusing their power to harass you?
AG: I don’t want to say every male customer I ever had in the hospitality business, but a lot of them. My family owned a restaurant growing up, so I started waiting tables at a really young age. I was first sexually harassed when I was 11.
AM: There was one guy who had gotten fired for taking a picture up a customer’s skirt and another customer had seen it. Obviously, he got fired because my boss had to look like he was dealing with it, but the guy got hired again immediately.
AG: Coworkers, kitchen staff, fellow servers, bussers, managers, patrons.
AM: He was screaming at me like, “I told you to stay on register!” I was like, “Why aren’t you dealing with what’s going on in the back?” He told us we were making a scene and totally devalued everything that was going on and was like, “Is this sexual harassment? Do you want me to fire him? Is that what you want? Because I don’t want a sexual harassment case on my hands, that’s the last thing I want.”
AG: I went and got security because this guy wouldn’t stop harassing me, wouldn’t leave me alone, kept asking me for my number, it was like the tenth time, and the security guard said, “Why don’t you just make life easier for everyone and give it to him?”
AM: They just want us to shut up, just get over it.
LM: Everyone looks at you and they only see the looks. They don’t consider your personality, they don’t consider how smart you are and how much you can actually bring to this internship. They consider your appearance.
AG: Women are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. It’s not on us to change. As for men…
AM: Don’t bring that shit into the workplace. Nobody wants it. Leave your sexual shit elsewhere.