Letter: Need clear guidelines on sexual behavior

Posted

To the editor:

Carole Ireland's April 5 letter made an important point. ("Biden's fragile critics are undermining #MeToo.")

A short line of women has piled on, reporting that Joe Biden's pat, nose-to-nose rub, kiss on the back of the head, etc., made them "uncomfortable" and "confused." Thankfully, each had the integrity to say that she didn't feel Biden's touches to be "sexual." The contacts were "inappropriate." So, Biden should not run for president.

Ms. Ireland is right. Hold on and consider the place of #MeToo in our culture's history, please! #MeToo has been doing hard work for performers, interns and auditioners, applicants for work and employees, to protest being assaulted and battered by employers, producers, supervisors or co-workers.

Harassment is insulting, humiliating, injurious or life-threatening. Or, if sexual, the assailant refuses to accept "no," threatens, tries to seduce, or rapes. He or she humiliates and embarrasses by exposing genitalia, groping breasts, buttocks or crotch; persistently pursues or 'flirts' after being refused; may talk "dirty." I'd like to add this: we all need clear guidelines. "No means no" isn't nearly enough to prevent ugly behavior and injured victims. It's high time to shift gears to "only 'yes' means 'yes'." And let's recall the ugly reaction of right-wingers to the fist bump of congratulations by Barack and Michelle Obama in 2008.

Let's urge Vice President Biden to convene a program by him and former Sen. Al Franken, perhaps with former First Lady Michelle Obama and President George W. Bush, to draw some limits for everybody, aloud and clearly — e.g., "no kissing," "no job interviews in a hotel room," "fist bumps and handshakes are fine." "Ask before touching!" Et cetera.

Julia W. Kay-Grace,

Becket

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