How exactly does the #metooNZ movement define sexual harassment?

There is no doubt that sexual harassment and assault is overdue for being properly addressed with, and serious perpetrators should be held to account (with proper due process).

But there is also proper concern over  pushing things to far, of making too much of relatively minor indiscretions.

These concerns have been well stated by Rachel Poulain in a question she asks of the #metooNZ movement.

See Alison Mau launches #metoonz investigation into sexual harassment in New Zealand

Broadcaster and journalist Alison Mau is launching a national #metoonz investigation into sexual harassment, supported by Stuff.

Mau says it’s an opportunity for Kiwis — mainly women, but men too — to bring their tormentors to account.

Mau said the #metoonz project — which references the celebrity #metoo social movement popularised by US actress Alyssa Milano — was for people who wanted to have a voice but didn’t know where to go.

“There’s been a window opened, if you like, for women who have something to say and are trying to find a person they can trust to say it to. I don’t want Kiwi women to miss out on that opportunity.”

Leading a team of journalists, Mau will act as the first point of contact, and can be reached on her Facebook and Twitter accounts, via email at alison.mau@stuff.co.nz or on a private phone number – 027 839 4417. Making contact would be completely confidential, and details and stories wouldn’t be shared “until and if” people are ready, she said.

It will run like any journalistic investigation, but with one crucial difference. Mau has set up a “triage” system.

“We will be able to help people that come to us to find legal help, if they need it, to lay a police complaint, if they want to, and to access counselling.

“There’s a level of care, specifically in place for this project. Even if people don’t want to talk on the record… at least we will be able to point them in the right direction to find the help they need.”

Stuff has partnered with Mau on the project.

It’s a widespread problem that needs to be addressed, properly and with care for both victims and due process, and withouit being bogged down with relatively trivial issues.

56 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  March 7, 2018

    If everyone’s a victim, nobody’s one.

    I find it abhorrent that someone can lose their job because they put a consoling hand on a distressed woman’s back for a few seconds, apologise (sad that this should be seen to be necessary) and have that accepted, and then have the woman complain. Nobody should be sacked over such a trivial thing.

    To class that as sexual harassment is an insult to anyone who’s been a real victim of a sex crime.

    • Mefrostate

       /  March 7, 2018

      Firstly, can you point at examples of the abhorrent scenario you describe?

      Second, we have a legal definition in the HRA1993, and your example would clearly fall short:
      It shall be unlawful for any person to subject any other person to behaviour that—
      (a) is unwelcome or offensive to that person (whether or not that is conveyed to the first-mentioned person); and
      (b) is either repeated, or of such a significant nature, that it has a detrimental effect on that person in respect of any of the areas to which this subsection is applied by subsection (3).

      Ali confirms that that is indeed the standard they intend to use: https://twitter.com/rachelkpoulain/status/970967659859750912

    • Patzcuaro

       /  March 8, 2018

      Wikipedia definition:

      “Harassment covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behavior that disturbs or upsets, and it is characteristically repetitive. In the legal sense, it is behavior that appears to be disturbing or threatening. Sexual harassment refers to persistent and unwanted sexual advances, typically in the workplace, where the consequences of refusing are potentially very disadvantageous to the victim.”

      A little common sense goes a long way.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 8, 2018

        Now it seems that the slightest thing can be classed as sexual harassment, as can a single incident.

        The exaggeration can only backfire on women. Who’d want to work with someone who could make you lose your job for an allegation ?

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  March 8, 2018

      Interesting that under the HRA 62(1) it is clearly illegal to invite someone home for sex and accommodation for the night. How absurd.

  2. NOEL

     /  March 7, 2018

    Talking to an ex corrections officer. Female actually, Said she had a case where one inmate stabbed another who she thought had been friends for a least a year. On questioning she found that the so called friend had slighted the stabber over a year earlier. The friendship was false. Something she said she never found with male inmates who took action at the time of the slight.

    Which raises a question for which I will be damned.
    Would the ” metoo ” exist if the harassment was female on male?

    • Mefrostate

       /  March 7, 2018

      Sexual harassment by women towards men is absolutely within the gamut of #MeToo.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  March 8, 2018

        I don’t think that it’s taken anything like so seriously.

        There was a Coke ad once that had women gathering and leering lecherously at a handsome windowcleaner or builder, I forget which. One stroked a Coke tin in a sexually suggestive way. No howls of sexism went up, as far as I know.

        Imagine the ad with a lot of businessmen gathering and leering at a gorgeous girl and making the equivalent sexually suggestive gesture. The ad would probably never have made it to the screen.

        • Mefrostate

           /  March 8, 2018

          “I don’t think that it’s taken anything like so seriously.”

          That’s largely the fault of lingering social attitudes towards male victims, and not a product nor the fault of #MeToo. Feminists are among the loudest voices talking about male victims.

          “Imagine the ad with a lot of businessmen gathering and leering at a gorgeous girl and making the equivalent sexually suggestive gesture. The ad would probably never have made it to the screen.”

          Oh, you mean basically the entire history of advertising, up to and including the present day?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  March 9, 2018

            Well, no. I don’t see ads like that and don’t remember seeing any at any time. Ads have been around for centuries. I admit that the ones for brothels in Ancient Rome made what was on offer obvious.This was blatant. The Coke tin was caressed in a highly sexualised way. If a man was shown leering at a woman and caressing something with a hole in it, the ad would be lucky to be on twice.

            Most ads don’t use sexual images, it would be pointless and irrelevant.

            I dislike the way that some people whine that women in undies and togs ads are being exploited and sexualised (too stupid to know this, as they’re women) but never seem to do this with men’s undie ads where it’s obvious what’s, er, inside these.

  3. sorethumb

     /  March 7, 2018

    I remember when old people would speak to children. Now however you darn’t in case people think you are a pedophile.
    ………….
    me who harass women are doing what comes naturally (trying to mate with the opposite sex).The problem is that interest clouds reason and incompetence (in experience).
    We musn’t forget that not all women are the same – some are good sorts and tolerant of mens faults whereas there is a dangerous breed of toxic feminist who is (basically a bit sick).

    • Mefrostate

       /  March 7, 2018

      “I remember when old people would speak to children. Now however you darn’t in case people think you are a pedophile.”

      Yes, it sure is a shame that society deems it completely unacceptable for men to talk to children. /s

      “me who harass women are doing what comes naturally (trying to mate with the opposite sex).”

      Rape is just a natural urge to spread my seed! /s

      “We musn’t forget that not all women are the same – some are good sorts and tolerant of mens faults whereas there is a dangerous breed of toxic feminist who is (basically a bit sick).”

      Yeah good thing we’ve got some good old kiwi sheilas who won’t kick up a fuss at a harmless ass slap. Not like those toxic feminists constantly trying to get us to stop sexually harassing them. /s

      sorethumb, your attitudes are absolutely toxic and deserve no place in civil society.

      • sorethumb

         /  March 8, 2018

        Rape is just a natural urge to spread my seed! /s
        ………..
        This is about harassment. Since the man wants to mate with the female (or prove to himself he could), harassment implies he is failing. Power/coercion is a different matter as harassment might be man/women of equal status. Women can have power over men in so far as they can shatter their egos.
        ………
        Why are so many TV reporters beautiful????

        • Mefrostate

           /  March 8, 2018

          Yes, this is about harassment. Harassment has a clear definition, as outlined above. A man simply trying to win the affections of a ‘woman’ (not ‘female’) is not harassment, until he oversteps the bounds of acceptable conduct.

          Sexual harassment is not justified by “oh but I’m just doing what is natural”

          Your TV reporter point is a complete red herring.

          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  March 8, 2018

            There is no test for unacceptable conduct in HRA 62(1). It simply redefines for itself what is unacceptable conduct as I’ve noted above:
            https://yournz.org/2018/03/07/how-exactly-does-the-metoonz-movement-define-sexual-harassment/#comment-257922

            • Mefrostate

               /  March 8, 2018

              For our purposes, unacceptable is equivalent to unlawful, which is explicitly defined in the HRA.

              We can quibble over the legal interpretation of “preferential treatment”, but your example of inviting someone home for sex & accommodation would clearly fail the reasonable person test, as demonstrated by the fact that you will not be able to procure any case law to support your concerns.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 8, 2018

              So if a reasonable person thinks the law is an ass then we don’t need to obey it?

            • Mefrostate

               /  March 8, 2018

              No, the law is interpreted by the reasonable person, who would never consider a one night stand + sleeping over to meet the definition of harassment.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 9, 2018

              Well, without being a lawyer, I suspect you are wrong in this instance. The reasonable person test is a common law device which I don’t see being applicable to this statute which explicitly defines harassment as you noted above and then criminalises it.

              However in order not to bring this law into well-deserved disrepute and ridicule it is highly likely the police will not be in a hurry to enforce it. Just another ill-considered and badly drafted law from our law factory.

      • sorethumb

         /  March 8, 2018

        sorethumb, your attitudes are absolutely toxic and deserve no place in civil society.
        ……….
        I have seen and observed a lot starting with JB showing the boys her strawberry on the school bus.
        Ill stick to my attitudes and maintain an open mind, thank you.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  March 9, 2018

          I didn’t read your post as saying that you thought that rape was acceptable.

  4. David

     /  March 7, 2018

    This will backfire on women, 2 equal candidates turn up for an interview at a law firm a male and a female which would you employ. Women are now all damzels in distress who cant cope ?
    Sexual harrasment and assault should never be tolerated and should be firmly dealt with but the me too movement will backfire. Having said that law firms can be pretty shocking when those alpha males have a few drinks on board…so I hear.

    • Mefrostate

       /  March 7, 2018

      “This will backfire on women, 2 equal candidates turn up for an interview at a law firm a male and a female which would you employ. Women are now all damzels in distress who cant cope ?”

      Science tells us that if two equal candidates are presented, the men will be preferred anyway. Especially if they’re white.

      But if you somehow are an HR manager who’s overcome your prejudices, and you’re confident that your firm has good internal systems for handling sexual harassment, you’d have an equal chance of hiring each.

      Surely you’re not insinuating that the HR manager would prefer the man because he’s worried the woman might be a liability because she might complain about sexual harassment? That would seem an insane argument, because the flip-side is that hiring the man instead makes him a liability for being accused of sexual harassment by your existing female employees? Your concern is ridiculous. Or do you think the natural product of #MeToo will be completely segregated workplaces?

      Nobody is actually arguing that women are damsels in distress who can’t cope, that’s an utter strawman. What they’re actually arguing is that women have suffered in silence for too long, because society wasn’t listening to them, and that it’s finally time to speak up and do something about the sexual assault & sexual harassment that seem to run rampant through so many aspects of society.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  March 8, 2018

        The post above sums up the problem for women that MeToo is creating. Anything and everything is starting to get caught up – office banter, a slight touch (accidental or otherwise) such as the one that brought down an MP in England. There is a presumption of men’s guilt based on whatever a woman says – Ryan Seacrest and perhaps James Franco being a couple out of many examples of people tarred without evidence.

        There are a number of people worried about the effect on hiring of women:

        “Earlier this week one of the top executives at Visa in the US got the boot because he apparently had affairs with a few — maybe even quite a few — of his female colleagues. As far as we know, the sex was consensual. He was married, and quite senior. Maybe that makes a difference, but there are a billion think-pieces online asking: ‘‘Is this the end of all workplace relationships?’’

        You can see where it’s headed: women are making trouble.

        Again.

        So, instead of making the workplace better for women, let’s just hire more men. They’re less troublesome.

        The editors at Time magazine probably thought they were doing a noble thing when they named “The Silence Breakers” as their 2017 Person of the Year.

        They probably didn’t expect comments like: “Now I’m afraid to even talk to women. Wouldn’t it be easier to not hire them?””

        https://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/inquirer/weinstein-and-metoo-confused-men-could-shy-away-from-hiring-women/news-story/9f592484dd258757217f1a43b6e807b4

        And more:

        “Steven Soderbergh is expressing real fears over backlash to the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements in a new interview with The Daily Beast. The director, whose limited series “Mosaic” is currently airing on HBO, explained that he worries about how powerful men in Hollywood will react to the anti-sexual harassment campaigns. Will men in charge take the time to systematically change behavior on film sets or will they just stop hiring women as a way to avoid potential cases of harassment and abuse? Soderbergh can’t help but be worried about the latter.”

        http://www.indiewire.com/2018/01/steven-soderbergh-fears-me-too-backlash-men-hiring-women-1201921539/

        Over the last two months, every day has seemed to bring new allegations of sexual misconduct against powerful men, who are facing real consequences for their actions. And people are already saying, “‘This is why you shouldn’t hire women,’” Sandberg writes.

        https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sheryl-sandberg-sexual-harassment-backlash_us_5a22c2a5e4b03350e0b710eb

        • Mefrostate

           /  March 8, 2018

          “There is a presumption of men’s guilt based on whatever a woman says “

          I actually agree with you that we’re in a moment of flux as we figure out how to treat varying degrees of public allegations. One person’s word shouldn’t be sufficient to ruin a career, but we also shouldn’t dismiss cases where several individuals are sharing similar, credible, stories.

          I don’t have all the solutions, but I think it’s dumb to throw the entirely of #MeToo out with the bathwater.

          “You can see where it’s headed: women are making trouble.”

          I still think it’s crazy to describe the above situations as “women making trouble”, as if they’re being snitches when they warn the world about an individual’s sexual harassment.

          “So, instead of making the workplace better for women, let’s just hire more men. They’re less troublesome.”

          And again, I fail to see why the response of employers would be to avoid hiring women. Wouldn’t their optimal strategy be to hire fewer men? (you know, the ones who are committing the sexual harassment, by and large).

          Regardless, neither will actually occur. What will happen is that we’ll gradually figure out a better set of boundaries. That won’t be painless, but it will result in a better world than the one women have had to endure up until now.

            • Mefrostate

               /  March 8, 2018

              How on earth is this related to #MeToo? Nobody accused Senior of sexual harassment. His (male) mates shared his messages, presumably to embarrass him rather than with the intent of making him look like a predator. It seems extremely tenuous.

              And if we’re going to determine whether the movement has net positive or negative utility, how do you propose to score the dis-utility of all every single woman who has shared her #MeToo story in the last few months?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 8, 2018

              Apparently the PC reaction to #metoo resulted in his university derailing his career.

              I’m not trying to determine utility, merely asking how many men will die in consequence. That doesn’t seem to have been much of a concern to those promoting child pornography laws either.

            • Mefrostate

               /  March 8, 2018

              “Apparently the PC reaction to #metoo resulted in his university derailing his career.”

              Please point me at something I can read on this.

              “I’m not trying to determine utility, merely asking how many men will die in consequence. That doesn’t seem to have been much of a concern to those promoting child pornography laws either.”

              I’m sorry, are you against child pornography laws?

              How many women have committed suicide because their sexual assault ruined their life?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  March 9, 2018

              Swansea University refused to say if Ted had been suspended in the days leading up to his death.

              That’s pretty damning.

              39 male suicides from one UK prosecution binge, many claimed to be innocent:
              https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2010/nov/10/child-pornography-accused-could-be-cleared

              The penalty for viewing child pornography (defined in the US as any person under 18) should not be death or worse:
              https://www.economist.com/node/1534834

              To answer your last question, probably not many. Reportedly 13% of rape victims attempt suicide but for women the “success” rate is reportedly 1 from 25 attempts. Presumably for sexual harassment rather than rape the rate is much lower.

              Like the medical profession, legislation should be required “first, to do no harm”.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  March 9, 2018

            The comments you quote – other than the first one – were from the articles I posted – not my own.
            But as I said up top, the problem is that an accusation made in a vacuum has the effect of vilifying a male, with no ability to stop being tarnished – it’s the old issue of how do you prove a negative?
            The Meetoo movement is based on very solid foundations and a reckoning of powerful men abusing their position is long, long overdue.
            But the shift into lynch mob mentality and the creep of less and less serious “offending” being swept up in to the reckoning could derail the whole thing and create a backlash.
            This is being seen with the many articles and comments saying hiring women is getting to be problematic.
            I’m sure the pendulum will swing back and a fair equilibrium will be found. But only if Meetoo set careful boundaries over what they are trying to stop.

      • sorethumb

         /  March 8, 2018

        • Mefrostate

           /  March 8, 2018

          Again, why have you posted this here? Are you capable of making an argument, rather than having daddy Peterson do it for you?

  5. sorethumb

     /  March 7, 2018

    • Mefrostate

       /  March 7, 2018

      Zarna Joshi is clearly “ideologically possessed”, but I fail to see the connection here. It’s not like her claims of sexual harassment went anywhere or led to any harm to Rudy Pantoja.

  6. sorethumb

     /  March 7, 2018

    I think that law firm thing probably goes on in many similar situations. Basically money and power are aphrodisiacs.

    • Mefrostate

       /  March 7, 2018

      Oh god. You do appreciate that there’s a difference between consensual sex and coercive sex, right? The “law firm thing” is about the latter.

      • sorethumb

         /  March 8, 2018

        you realise money and status are coercive?

        • Mefrostate

           /  March 8, 2018

          Yes, exactly. Consent can become extremely blurry when someone is in a position of power, which is why the HRA1993 defines sexual harassment as:

          “It shall be unlawful for any person (in the course of that person’s involvement in any of the areas to which this subsection is applied by subsection (3)) to make a request of any other person for sexual intercourse, sexual contact, or other form of sexual activity which contains an implied or overt promise of preferential treatment or an implied or overt threat of detrimental treatment.”

  7. sorethumb

     /  March 7, 2018

    It might help if women told men when they are lesbos?

    • sorethumb

       /  March 7, 2018

      and girly men could wear bibs.

      • Corky

         /  March 7, 2018

        Nicholas Cage had a choice to make on Con Air. Sometimes you just don’t know what is what.

    • Mefrostate

       /  March 7, 2018

      Do you think lesbians are somehow getting sexually harassed because of their own failure to communicate to the men that they’re not interested?

      • sorethumb

         /  March 8, 2018

        Yes

        • Gezza

           /  March 8, 2018

          Nah, they let you know they’re gay strsight away. it’s usually sleazy men convinced their sexual prowess will turn a lesbian into a heterosexual who harrass them.

  8. duperez

     /  March 7, 2018

    Bogged down with relatively trivial issues? And conflating the serious with the less than trivial:

  9. sorethumb

     /  March 8, 2018

  10. Zedd

     /  March 8, 2018

    There is a difference between flirting & sexual assault. I think the ‘MeToo’ mob have perhaps blurred the line ?
    Rape is illegal; but a touch on the shoulder or even knee is NOT 😦

  11. Fred

     /  March 8, 2018

    Since when did the media investigate crimes? Who appointed them judge, jury and executioner? Shouldn’t Alison Mau direct any serious allegations of sexual harrassment to the police and then report on the facts of the police investigations?

  1. How exactly does the #metooNZ movement define sexual harassment? — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition