HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The “Me Too” movement continues to sweep the nation, including right here in the Midstate.
Women teamed up to combat workplace misconduct at a “#MeToo, Now What?” event in Harrisburg.
“Sexual harassment is everywhere,” said Jill Family, who helped to organize the panel. “There is no field or occupation or profession that can escape it.”
“We need those male allies,” said Dr. Leah Clarke, a panelist and the assistant director of Messiah College’s graduate counseling program. “We’re going to have to give the guys in our life a chance to step up.”
Every week, we hear about new sexual assault allegations in the entertainment, political, and news industries. The panelists answered questions and gave advice on how to handle harassment in all lines of work.
Claudia Williams, a panelist and the founder of The Human Zone, talked about different kinds of misconduct and advised managers on how to address them.
“If it’s something that happens repeatedly, over and over again, without any change, it’s not a mistake,” Williams said. “That’s a character flaw, and we need to ensure responses are proportionate, that the punishment fits the crime.”
The event run by the Pennsylvania Women’s Forum also gave people who have been harassed in the workplace tools to find a pathway to healing.
“It’s okay to start small and it’s okay if you get a couple bad reactions, to keep going,” Clarke said. “Just keep moving to the next person until you get heard or you can find a mentor, or find that support.”
“Sexual harassment is something that shouldn’t be swept under the rug and your story and your voice may help someone else come out and share their own experience,” said Alizah Thornton, a Harrisburg resident who attended the event.
Williams said community conversations like this must continue until the bad behavior comes to an end.