Gretchen Carlson Penned a Powerful Op-Ed About Sexual Harassment
Gretchen Carlson, former co-anchor of "Fox and Friends" and former host of "The Real Story With Gretchen Carlson," spoke out earlier this year about the sexual harassment she faced while working with the former chairman and CEO of Fox News, Roger Ailes (who also allegedly harassed Megyn Kelly). He met her allegations with a $20 million settlement, but Carlson paved the way for more women to speak up: 20 more women came forward with their own allegations against Ailes.
Now she's going to bat again — this time with a powerful op-ed published in The New York Times, in which she revealed that her experiences with sexual harassment weren't just with Ailes, but came from plenty of other men she's worked with during her career in television. "Within months of my first job in television, I found myself alone in the news van with a cameraman I barely knew, and our conversation went from normal chitchat to something much more sinister. He wanted to know how I felt when he put the microphone under my shirt and touched my breasts," she wrote.
But this wasn't even the first time she dealt with this kind of behavior: Before that, she writes that she was assaulted after becoming Miss America in 1989. "On one occasion, a well-known television executive stuck his tongue down my throat in the back seat of a car we were sharing. And just a few weeks later, a famous publicist in Los Angeles shoved my head into his crotch so forcefully I couldn’t breathe." Carlson also shared why — like many women — she didn't tell anyone about the harassment: She felt it would reflect badly on her and that she'd be labeled a troublemaker. And Carlson, sadly, had reason to worry: She says she's come across women who have been forced to quit their jobs or to take sexual harassment classes after filing complaints with their human resources department against a male coworker.
Luckily for womankind, Carlson didn't stop there in her op-ed. Instead, she outlined constructive ways that companies can work to overcome these issues in the workplace — because no woman should have to find another job to escape sexual harassment. First, she wants to make sure companies can't sweep these cases under the rug. She writes, "Companies should not be allowed to force employees to sign contracts that include arbitration clauses under which all discrimination disputes, including sexual harassment claims, can be resolved only in a secret proceeding." After all, women are less likely to come forward if they think they're the only ones dealing with these issues.
Instead, Carlson wants the information to be available to the public and questions if human resources departments, which could be biased if the alleged harasser owns the company, are the best way to deal with these issues. Carlson also touches on the need to reevaluate sexual harassment training at companies to ensure they're being handled effectively. And of course, she mentions the importance of raising our children to respect both men and women in the same way they would their family members and friends.
The opportunity for change starts early. Carlson reminds us that no matter our gender, solidarity is key: "Men also need to stop enabling harassers by egging them on or covering up or excusing their bad behavior. Women shouldn’t be expected to solve this issue alone. We need men to be onboard, too." Because seriously, there's no reason we can't all encourage appropriate behavior and respect for everyone.
More From Glamour:
• Fox News Settles With Gretchen Carlson Over Roger Ailes Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
• Former Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Says She Was Fired for Refusing to Have Sex With CEO Roger Ailes
• Roger Ailes Resigns As Fox CEO Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations
• How Women Across America Are Speaking Out Against Donald Trump
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