Harrassment (Vermont)

Last Saturday, the Boston Globe published a dramatic story about sexual harassment and intimidation in the Massachusetts legislature. The focus was on female lobbyists in the State House, trying to do their jobs among groping, disgusting men who run the place.

No link to the story because of the Boston.com paywall.

The sexual harassment/violence of Harvey Weinstein is now evolving into a new phase of this story. And it is a full blown contagion across ALL walks of life. Leaders in every industry are re-thinking every relationship, every contact, every behavior over the last 20 years.

It is coming for every bad actor. The media has decided as a group that it is Ok to write these stories. From JFK’s White House, to Hollywood from its very beginning, to American business, sports, media and politics – it is now fair game to tell these stories.

What changed is a subject for another day.

But when it comes to the media and its coverage of this issue, get ready to read about your politicians and their behavior. Female lobbyists in Boston talked anonymously about being groped and harassed and denied the ability to do their work.

The reaction from the President of the Massachusetts Senate and the Speaker of the House was predictably clueless. They were shocked and outraged and promised to set up some committee and promised not to tolerate this behavior.

Where I live in Vermont, we watched as the police took away a state senator from the State House and charged him with sexual crimes against powerless young women. Unlike Massachusetts, which is run by men, the Vermont legislature is more open and has women in real positions of power – including committee chairs and the Speaker of the House.

But Vermont is not immune. And this discussion is coming. Talk to any female lobbyist about this subject in the Vermont Statehouse and the reaction is the same – a rolling of the eyes and a look of “of course it goes on here.’’

Note to political leaders in Vermont — Get ready to discuss this issue. And get ready to account for why the groping and the sexual comments toward women have been unaddressed. It has been going on for generations and has been left unchecked and taken care of in the back room.

It is about to burst into the open – and it’s about time.