Manhandled

Manhandled by Robert C. Martin.

From the post:

Warning: Possible sexual abuse triggers.

One of my regular bike-riding podcasts is Astronomy Cast, by Dr. Pamela Gay and Fraser Cain. Indeed, if you go to cleancodeproject.com you’ll see that Astronomy Cast is one of the charities on my list of favorites. Make a contribution and I will send you a green Clean Code wristband, or coffee cup, or sweatshirt. If you listen to Astronomy Cast you’ll also find that I am a sponsor.

This podcast is always about science; and the science content is quite good. It’s techie. It’s geeky. It’s right up my alley. I’ve listened to almost every one of the 399 episodes. If you like science — especially science about space and astronomy, this is a great resource.

But yesterday was different. Yesterday was episode 399; and it was not about science at all. It was entitled: Women in Science; and it was about — sexual harassment.

Not the big kind that gets reported. Not the notorious kind that gets people fired. Not that kind — though there’s enough of that to go around. No, this was about commonplace, everyday, normal sexual harassment.

Honestly, I didn’t know there was such a thing. I’ve always thought that sexual harassment was anomalous behavior perpetrated by a few disgusting, arrogant men in positions of power. It never occurred to me that sexual harassment was an everyday, commonplace, run-of-the-mill, what-else-is-new occurrence. But I listened, aghast, as I heard Dr. Gay recount tales of it. Tales of the kind of sexual harassment that women in Science regularly encounter; and have simply come to expect as a normal fact of life.

You need to read Bob’s post in full but in particular his concluding advice:

  • You never lay your hands on someone with sexual intent without their explicit permission. It does not matter how drunk you are. It does not matter how drunk they are. You never, ever manhandle someone without their very explicit consent. And if they work for you, or if you have power over them, then you must never make the advance, and must never accept the consent.
  • What’s more: if you see harassment in progress, or even something you suspect is harassment, you intervene! You stop it! Even if it means you’ll lose a friend, or your job, you stop it!

Bob makes those points as a matter of “professionalism” for programmers but being considerate of others, is part and parcel of being a decent human being.

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