New You are able to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s resignation came after greater than a week of not so good news, beginning having a damning report in the condition attorney general’s office that detailed his sexual harassment of 11 women, a number of whom labored in the office. A professional assistant to Cuomo, Brittany Commisso, filed a criminal complaint against him using the Albany County sheriff’s office. The condition Legislature prepared impeachment proceedings.
Then, top aide Melissa DeRosa resigned among a flurry of questions surrounding her role in protecting Cuomo. Attorney Roberta Kaplan also resigned in the #MeToo advocacy organization Time’s Up following the attorney general’s report says she helped draft instructions that denied Cuomo’s wrongdoing.
As news emerged concerning the silence from Cuomo’s staff, who’d lengthy protected him, and the victims who feared blowback, our ideas switched immediately to the research on harassers.
“See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil” may be the title in our new article for that Journal of Applied Psychology, which describes the function witnesses play in assisting and protecting harassers. Evidence suggests that, instead of helping victims, witnesses frequently safeguard the harasser.
The set of Cuomo’s sexual harassment is replete with examples that showcase how people of Cuomo’s top staff, known with each other because the “Executive Chamber,” silenced victims. One victim described within the report: “I was afraid when I shared what happening it would in some way circumvent … and when senior aides Stephanie Benton or Melissa DeRosa heard that, I would lose my job.”
Although #MeToo gave voice to countless women to talk up about sexual harassment, it remains rare for victims to report sexual harassment to employers. They’re scared of blowback. They believe management won’t believe them. They fear being blamed or shamed. Which fears are warranted.
Cuomo aide Brittany Commisso spoke to CBS News and also the Albany Occasions Union on August. 9, 2021, concerning the governor’s alleged sexual assault.Silent complicity
Studies have shown that reporting mechanisms rarely work and frequently backfire.
For instance, employees who speak up about workplace harassment frequently face retaliation, both professional and personal. This really is apparent in multiple victim accounts within the Cuomo analysis.
One victim was quoted within the report stating that “she didn’t feel she could securely report or rebuff the conduct because, according to her experience and discussion with other people … it’s type of known the Governor provides the press who will get promoted and who doesn’t.”
What about bystanders? Colleagues? Leaders? Why don’t they speak up once they see sexual harassment?
Area of the problem, recommendations, lies with social systems – the webs of interconnections among victims, perpetrators, co-workers and managers. The way in which these systems are configured encourages people to become silent, silence others and never hear victims who voice concerns about sexual harassment.
Certainly one of Cuomo’s 11 alleged victims, a condition trooper, described a discussion she’d with Cuomo while driving him for an event. The governor asked her clothing choices, asking why she wasn’t putting on an outfit. Following the conversation, the victim’s condition police superior, who had been within the vehicle throughout the interaction, messaged her, stating that the conversation “stays within the truck.”
Cuomo staffer Melissa DeRosa was by Cuomo after sexual harassment allegations against him first arrived on the scene. She resigned 2 days before Cuomo announced his resignation.
Lev Radin/Off-shore Press/LightRocket via Getty Images
So why do people safeguard harassers? Numerous factors are in play.
First, a harasser can set up a central status by getting many strong ties to other people within the network. Strong relationships inside a tie require a good investment of your time and sources on sides, and as a result, they yield loyalty and reciprocity. So network people near to the harasser are more inclined to stay silent about his misdeeds, and also to silence or manipulate individuals who speak up into questioning their sanity.
Also, once the harasser may be the sole outcomes of disconnected people from the network, he is able to isolate victims, control information and hide wrongdoing. Caused by all of this: Victims, witnesses and would-be supporters stay silent.
Within the situation of Cuomo, he’d many loyal ties. The lawyer general’s report claims that the manager Chamber had “an intense and overriding concentrate on secrecy and loyalty that resulted in all perceived functions of ‘disloyalty,’ including critique from the Governor [Cuomo] or his senior staff, could be met with attacks of the professional and personal nature.”
Another factor to consider people safeguard male sexual harassers is based on how certain network beliefs prize men and maleness. These beliefs normalize male dominance over women, encouraging support for individuals who enact displays of masculine brilliance.
When these beliefs pervade a social networking, and central men sexually harass women, network people stay silent. Additionally they rally to protect and safeguard harassers by silencing and never hearing individuals who speak up.
Because women are devalued during these systems, effective witnesses haven’t much motive to listen to sexual harassment complaints or do something to aid female victims. The analysis into Cuomo’s conduct concluded: “This culture of fear, violence, and retribution co-existed within the Executive Chamber with one which recognized and normalized everyday flirtations and gender-based comments through the Governor.”
Finally, mythologies about sexual harassment are often present in social systems like the one which encircled Cuomo. These misguided beliefs deny that sexual harassment has happened, frequently by questioning women’s complaints – for instance, suggesting that false allegations are typical. Or they downplay the gravity of those offenses.
When harassment becomes indisputable, myths lead network people to proceed to justify it: absolving harassers of responsibility or blaming victims – asking what women did to ask sexual advances.
Myths like these silence network people because speaking up will probably be futile or perhaps harmful. Through the report, senior staff people in Cuomo’s office denied wrongdoing by Cuomo. One victim, Ana Liss, testified that Cuomo had held her hands, kissed her oral cavity and been flirtatious. She didn’t wish to report it because “the atmosphere within the Executive Chamber discouraged her … she was fully expecting the Governor’s team would deny, deny, deny, character assassinate.”
It’s rare that scholarly research and current occasions so perfectly reflect one another. However the Cuomo situation is – no metaphor here – a textbook illustration of a network of complicity and silence around sexual harassment.
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