Sexual Harassment hit the news in a big way with Bill Cosby. But, it didn't catch fire until Harvey Weinstein. That seems to have been the tipping point.

On November 19, 2017, Paul Ryan announced the US House of Representatives had passed a rule requiring all members and staff to undergo sexual harassment Training. If this had been in place for the past couple of decades we wouldn’t have a problem—right?

Wrong. This sort of training has been in the private sector for decades. When I worked for a large corporation back in the 1990s, harassment training was required.

Mandatory training starts now

Did the training stop the harassment in my workplace? I never worked in the Human Resources department, so I don't have the analytics.

But, from my perspective, nothing changed.

All the managers went through the motions of the training and watched video reenactments, which were met with laughter. It was largely treated as just “checking the box,” then back to business as usual, more off-color jokes and innuendoes. Occasionally, a manager would get fired for something that was never fully explained.

I personally witnessed some extreme behavior and offered to corroborate the incident. This occurred at a company-sponsored event where, naturally, alcohol was involved. But, the woman declined to file a complaint saying it would ruin her career.

It’s not that complicated

Do men really need professional training to know they shouldn’t stealthily cop a feel during a photo shoot? Do they need to be told it's wrong to force a woman to watch their one-man show or require sexual favors in exchange for a promotion or a role in a movie?

No.

Men don’t need that training to know right from wrong. We already know these behaviors are out-of-bounds. But some men do it anyway.

When it’s not obvious, think

Perhaps training might be required in more subtle situations such as complimenting a woman’s hairstyle or dress. How about just follow the rule, think before you speak?

Put a pause button between the thought and the mouth. If you’re not sure whether or not something is appropriate—guess what? There’s a 99% chance it’s not. Just keep your mouth shut and do your work.

What will actually help?

Things are going to get better. Not because of the training. But, because the predators are being rooted out.

Let’s see where it stands right now since there are new ones every day. Here is a partial list. It’s just a few highlights—the entire list would be extremely long. Some of these are newer than others. In many cases, the accusations have been denied or disputed. These names are widely reported in all major media outlets including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, all the major television networks and overseas by UK Channel 4 public broadcasting.

Politics

  • Al Franken (US Senator)
  • George H.W. Bush (US President)
  • John Conyers (US Representative)
  • Roy Moore (US Senate Candidate)

Entertainment

Media

  • Charlie Rose (PBS and CBS Host)
  • Matt Lauer (Cohost NBC, Today Show)
  • Glenn Thrush (New York Times Reporter)
  • Mark Halperin (Journalist)

Sports

  • Alex Gilady (IOC Committee member)
  • Ben Roethlisberger (NFL Player)
  • Johnny Manziel (Heisman Trophy Winner)
  • Ray Rice (NFL Player)

Workplace

  • Anonymous

I’m including a category called the workplace. The powerful men in entertainment, politics, sports, and the media make front page news. What about the workplace setting? Those accusations, admissions, and dismissals are not making headlines. They're typically kept private unless it involves top management of publicly traded companies. The volume of potential offenders is staggering. We can only hope the guilty are being purged there as well.

Back to the idea of Mandatory sensitivity training. I’m not saying it shouldn’t be required. It should. But, would it have changed what happened? That's debatable and even highly unlikely. What will create a sea change in attitudes and behavior is enforcement of the law until men learn that such perverted indulgences are not worth the consequences.