Person of The Year Why Sexual Harassment Exists: A Severe Lack of Boundaries

Source:  Time Magazine

Source:  Time Magazine

Harvey Weinstein.  

Kevin Spacey.

Charlie Rose.  

Matt Lauer.  

Danny Masterson.

US House of Representatives John Conyers.

Sexual harassment in Hollywood has been kept under the rug for decades, yet everyone said they knew about it.

A recent poll from Abacus Data indicates that 53% of women in Canada have been sexually harassed at work.  Based on my experience with an Internet market research firm, my hunch is that percentage is actually higher than 53%.  

Who's to blame?  That's the wrong question to ask in this environment of the daily stories about public figures and their alleged actions being brought to light.

The root cause of sexual harassment is the lack of boundaries in the people that are assaulting others, and the lack of respecting the victim's personal boundaries.  

Webster's defines Boundaries as something that indicates or fixes a limit or extent.  As individuals, we all need personal boundaries in how we act and behave in society.  The cases we've heard about recently are examples of misbehavior (misbehaviour in Canada) amongst people that have abused their level of power.

As an executive, I have perceived (and real) power in my role.  I don't take this lightly.  I also take precautions to protect my organizations and myself when it comes to interactions with people.  Respect is the first ingredient.  Regardless if I find someone "attractive", that does not give me ANY permission to violate their trust or boundaries by saying something inappropriate to them, or worse, physically assaulting them.  

The individuals that are being accused of harassment abused their power.  A colleague of mine commented that if these individuals were the janitor in their respective industries, the likelihood of them "getting away for so long" with the abuse wouldn't have happened.  

As a leader of a company and YOUR life, you need to respect the boundaries of others and do not harass or abuse ANYONE.

The TV show Mad Men portrays an era where harassment ran amok in workplaces.  It wasn't right then, and it's not right now, or ever.

As an individual or organization, respect of others and their personal boundaries is a must.  Take the high road and be a stellar community member and citizen.  Imagine your name on the front page of the newspaper, or trending on Twitter for misconduct.  How does that feel to you?  


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