Comments on: Who gets to be anonymous? Tue, 10 Feb 2015 19:54:39 +0000 hourly 1 By: dbuck Sat, 12 Nov 2011 13:28:27 +0000 I’m with the idea — albeit not without some uneasiness — that Politico should have named the two people who obtained settlements with the NRA. What I don’t go with is that “No legal finding of sexual harassment was made, and the only evidence that Cain committed sexual harassment is that cash settlements of $35,000 and $45,000 were reportedly paid to the two accusers. But that’s no evidence at all—the cost of defending a sexual harassment charge is so steep that paying severance of $35,000 is a bargain even if a case has little merit.”

That’s crossing a few too many bridges that have not yet, for reasons beyond our control, been arrived at. Through no fault of the complaintants, the NRA, Cain, Politico, etc., (the etc. designates anyone I missed) the settlements are confidential. It’s not that there is no evidence, it’s that we don’t know what it is. Except for the fact of the settlements themselves. That’s evidence.

Asserting that organizations settle rather than litigate flies in the face of standard policy in the business community to litigate the hell out of everything, because they have more resources than lowly one-off complaintants. Settlements also keep messy, embarrassing details out of the eye of the press (i.e, the public), the shareholders, and, in the case of membership organizations like the National Restaurant Association, the members. At a minimum, that’s a context that ought to be filled in.

George Orwell once said that saints ought to be considered guilty until proven innocent; the same goes for people who claim they’ve never in their life done anything inappropriate.

For most of we more mortal beings, the answer to the question of inappropriate behavior? would be, I’ll start with today and work backwards.


By: RailBended Fri, 11 Nov 2011 13:55:12 +0000 Good article. Way to call out the press. It should be noted that harassment (of any kind) has certain requirements in order to be classified as such. You must tell the accuser to stop, you must document the behavior and then when the third strike hits, he (or she) is done for.

I know the gist of your article was more along the lines of critiquing the press in this scenario but a nice exploration of just what it takes for something to legally become documented proof of harassment might be a good idea for a future article

By: travisolated Fri, 11 Nov 2011 02:28:24 +0000 The prior commentator stated- “So yes, it isn’t exactly fair that potential victims get more protection than potential perpetrators.” The potential problem which is entirely ignored here is that the so-called potential victim may be a potential violator in the context of the possibility of false charging/accusations. This possible error occurs because the de facto presumption of guilt by the one so charged.

And as for apologizing by a man who has been falsely charged to the one who charged him, such apology does not seem too meaningful to me when the apologizer has a gun pointed at his head. Interesting that there appears to be no apology requested by the one doing the false charging.

By: ileanaf Fri, 11 Nov 2011 01:10:40 +0000 Since Cain has been in the workplace for decades – as a boss for a significant period of that time – and there isn’t a record of sexual harassment or improper sexual advances against him before or since the 3 year period he was the head of the NRA, why would anyone even ask him whether he routinely “violates current socio-sexual norms in the workplace”? Its obvious that he doesn’t. Even if he was guilty of an indiscretion during his tenure at the NRA,that still doesn’t imply that he “routinely” does this sort of thing. The only implication is that during this 3 year period, he may have “slipped” but nothing more.

By: Steven_R_Stahl Thu, 10 Nov 2011 20:14:52 +0000 I’m afraid that the situation with Cain makes anonymity more deserved than it would be if the women were accusing a no-name executive of harassment. The no-name executive might get angry and justifiably demand proof; the Cain campaign apparently is setting out to destroy accusers and intimidate others who might be considering complaints; see al-animal/2011_11/cain_campaigns_notsosu btle_thr033413.php

Asking for justice shouldn’t entail the risk of having media set out on a mission of personal destruction against you.


By: LEEDAP Thu, 10 Nov 2011 19:39:14 +0000 Mr. Shafer, it is brave of you to engage in this sensitive topic. I applaud your sensitivity and recognize the need to have this discussion. But as I understand these things, the underlying assumption is that since men are stronger and more aggressive, nearly any innuendo is potentially threatening to a woman. Furthermore the history of victim persecution makes women even more vulnerable.

So yes, it isn’t exactly fair that potential victims get more protection than potential perpetrators. But justice isn’t a private matter. It is a social matters that must take history and general perceptions into account.

This can be confusing to a man. Some women are flattered by overt come ons. That is fine for her. But all women are not that way and one must be sensitive to how each person wants to be treated.

As a man, if I were falsely accused of improper sexual advances, the first thing I would do would be to apologize for what ever I might have done to give the woman the false impression that I was flirting. I would offer the accuser the opportunity to explain how they felt about my actions and ask what I could have done differently. I would be sensitive to the history of men abusing women and show that I understand and care.