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Before the 1990s, little recourse for harassment victims

11 2 28
28.12.2017

Back in 1979, Karen Schneider was an entry-level copy editor in her 20s when a senior editor at her newspaper offered her a ride after some late-night drinks with colleagues. At her destination, he locked the car door and forcibly kissed her.

Terrified, she managed to get away. She subsequently told her boyfriend about what happened — and no one else.

"I didn't know what sexual harassment was. I didn't know that what he did was actually illegal," Schneider recalled in a recent phone interview. "All I knew was that I was scared and deeply worried about my career, because this man was in a position of authority and I was a very eager young journalist."

The recent wave of sexual misconduct allegations, costing dozens of prominent men their jobs and reputations, shows that experiences like Schneider's remain common in American workplaces. But even as the problem persists, there is far more public awareness now of sexual harassment and far more recourse for victims, compared with the decades before the 1990s.

Schneider remained at the Hartford Courant for five more years after the kiss, keeping her secret. She later worked for other news and advocacy organizations and is now vice president of communications for the National Women's Law Center, which is assisting women speaking out about harassment.

"There has been greater recognition that sexual harassment is against the law and should not be tolerated," Schneider said. "But there are many industries and offices where people are still afraid to speak out."

Technically, sexual........

© Japan Today