What is called a scandal by the main stream media in the Cain harassment allegations, may only be a blurb in reality. Herman Cain has dismissed the allegations as baseless, while the mainstream media and Democrats continue to try to capitalize on the issue. Following the twitter hashmark #Cain has also proven to be interesting. Mostly dominated by supporters of the Democratic party, the comments have all but convicted Cain and some of the comments are not worthy of repeating. Despite the so-called scandal Herman Cain has maintained his front runner status on most polls.
While sexual harassment in the workplace is real and should not be diminished, it is also true that a many unsubstantiated allegations are made. There is also such a thing as harassment being in the eye of the beholder. As a former military officer and unit harassment officer the author has experienced a gambit of complaints, some of them very real and others just hot air. Each complaint needs to be investigated and a finding made. The results are then forwarded to the Commander who may or may not accept the harassment officer’s recommendations. Suffice to say that not all cases are harassment and many cases can be resolved easily, while others are more difficult, requiring separating the two individuals.
Below is a personal example of one harassment case, where an individual took two approaches to different supervisors. Both cases were blatant harassment, but it is a demonstration how harassment is in the eye of beholder, thus the decision to share it:
Harassment is in the Eye of the Beholder – An Example
As a company commander in a training establishment for Leadership Company, the author had a white Company Sergeant Major for the first year. The company clerk was a female Corporal, also white. The Sergeant Major came back from a Regimental Sergeant Major (senior Enlisted rank in a Battalion) and came into the office and said, “I am a Sergeant Major and I can’t even say f.. in my own office. If it weren’t for people like you, who should be at home baking bread anyways, I wouldn’t have this problem.”
It was assumed that this statement would end up in a harassment complaint and the Sergeant Major was called on the carpet and told, if this ended in a formal complaint it would be investigated and the author would have no choice but to testify as a witness during the formal investigation. The Corporal took it as a joke and no complaint was submitted.
After one year there was a change in Company Sergeants Major and one day as he author walked into the company office, the Corporal was sitting there crying. She was called into the office and asked what the problem was. She stated, “The Sergeant Major called me a girl and I am not a girl, I am a Corporal.”
The Sergeant Major was told to apologize to her. In any case, a couple of days later she was sitting there and crying again. After inquiring as to what the problem was, she replied that the Sergeant Major had apologized to her, but while doing so said “You have to remember where I come from we use the term “girl” all the time. This upset her and she said to the author, “How would he feel if I called him a boy.” It was apparent that one of the two had to go. Since it is difficult to replace a Sergeant Major, an arrangement was made to exchange company clerks with another company commander.
The example highlights how the same person can see a problem from two different aspects, depending on who says what and when. The point is that the anonymous allegations against Herman Cain should be taken with a grain of salt unless a substantiated story emerges. Anyone that has dealt with harassment investigations before knows how difficult they can be. Once they have been resolved satisfactorily, which in this case they appear to have been, they should not be stirred up years later.
To call this a scandal is ridiculous. Until there is proof of any violations, they are merely allegations by anonymous persons. Also ask yourself why the issue is being raised now? One can only hope that next weeks debate concentrates on the issues and not on this issue. Heed Newt Gringrich’s warning about GOP infighting or hand the election on a silver bladder to President Obama.
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