Tenn. Lawmakers Joke, Cite Female Attire in Harassment Training
The Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – When Tennessee House members and staffers gathered Wednesday for their first-ever in-person training on sexual harassment, one female lawmaker said women should mind how they dress and a male lawmaker jokingly said a male colleague was harassing him.
According to The Tennessean , Rep. Courtney Rogers, a Goodlettsville Republican, said women need to be mindful of the possibility of harassment if they wear provocative clothing and have a "responsibility" to maintain their decorum.
"I've had female lobbyists walk into my office dressed in such a manner that I had to fight the urge to laugh," said Rogers, who added that she has the same issue with some younger interns.
Sharon Roberson, the YWCA CEO who led the training, responded by saying state and federal government agencies that enforce harassment law disagree with Rogers' statement on provocative clothing.
"That whole mindset is the culture that we have to change," Roberson said.
Before the presentation began, Democratic Rep. Joe Towns of Memphis jokingly said he was being harassed. He pointed at Rep. John Mark Windle, a Livingston Democrat, and asked for him to be moved.
The required training by YWCA Nashville and Middle Tennessee comes after Rep. Jeremy Durham was expelled over sexual misconduct allegations in September 2016. A state attorney general investigation accused Durham of inappropriate sexual contact with at least 22 women.
Rogers was one of two House lawmakers not to vote for Durham to be expelled.
Additionally, Rep. Mark Lovell resigned over allegations in February.
Wednesday marked the House's first in-person training, though some House staffers instead attended training last year. The Senate members and staff have to watch a video this year. Last year, in what was then a first for Tennessee, lawmakers and staff from both houses watched a 15-minute video.
Connie Ridley, director of legislative administration, kicked off the House's training Wednesday by noting key elements of the legislature's new sexual harassment policy, which was adopted in July 2016.
Under the new policy, anyone with personal knowledge of inappropriate conduct who doesn't report it could possibly be violating the policy, Ridley said.
"That's a big change for us," Ridley said. "That's a very expansion of this policy and again something that we think will really help to protect the people that are here."
Roberson said the fact that lawmakers were undergoing the training meant they were taking the issue seriously.
"We have to make a cultural change in order for this body to move forward and take care of the business that they're here to take care of," Roberson said.
This did not shock me as I live in the 'vile. Retroactive behavior here is not nuclear associated it is with regards to time. I cannot stress enough that living in Nashville is like living in 1950 and this is post World War II and the boys are back, the City is booming and everyone has a place and they know exactly where that place is. It is step back in time that is ordained by Christ and with over 80% of the population being Christian and 50% the hard right of said faith and in turn all that the dogma it supports puts anyone who questions said beliefs relegated to the wood shed.
Add to this the lack of education with only 30% of the population receiving higher education and of that I suspect most of it from non-secular institutions, we gots some stupid here. Which explains the arrogance of those who possess degrees as they are sure they are the smartest in the room. Which is why when I walk into one I yell out, "Not from here and received my education elsewhere" makes me a welcome guest or not in said room. I quit caring as it is my coping skill.
I had a conversation with someone recently who said that despite the number of Christian practitioners that few young people were engaged in the faith and more for social contacts versus religious one. Sure and then you grow up and you have spent your formative years with that as a background should have no affect what-so-ever on your adult way of thinking and believing, right?
Today I awoke again to more sexual scandal stories. First the ones of the male models and the photographers Bruce Weber and Mario Testino. I think of both of them as strong backgrounds in my life as they were the ones who documented many iconic moments in fashion and life that I cannot erase from my mind and memories.
Then the Aziz Ansari revelation that while I did not find surprising as he was conspicuously silent during the Louis CK story, given that they share the same management team, this story just once again demonstrated how idiotic men are with regards to women and how women are confused as well with regards to men. I recall seeing him in the streets of Seattle a few years earlier at Tom Douglas bakery posturing and posing as Master of None had just come out and he was the "it" kid. He seemed confused as how to act and more importantly why he cared. I watched the show shrugged and thought it's okay I guess. But I could not forget the title came from the infamous Seinfeld episode of the same name about the subject of masturbation so the irony today is not lost on me in the least.
There were already the Franco allegations and in turn his comments on the subject and like all the rest that follow we will never truly know what transpired as the court of public opinion is the only one that these stories will be heard.
I then read Vanity Fair and an evisceration of Lena Dunham another interloper and under fire by the Time's Up movement, which again proves the fact that women turn on each other which is part of the problem. She, like Ansari and basically did Sex and the City for the new generation only for unattractive people and I realized this is what defines the Millennial generations obsession with regards to equality. Ugly people doing shit that we can watch them doing it. I am going to pass as I live in Nashville and just walk outside to do the same.
They declared a State of Emergency here this weekend as we had snow. Nowhere near the level of snow that the Midwest or East had nor near the disasters in California first with the fires and now the mudslides, but we had cold and snow over an inch and all hysteria broke loose. This is a town that aspires to be more and more but with legislators laughing at women and mocking their clothing as a justification or explanation as to why they are harassed I can see that they have already achieved their goal. By the way that clothing thing - myth. This all comes from a State that has some of the most restrictive reproductive rights in the Nation, health care (an irony given its presence or is that an oxymoron), same for education and in turn touts itself as an "it" city. Again if that it was in 1950.
There is a neediness here that I cannot truly describe. It is almost desperation to be liked, to be the most popular, the Prom King, the star Quarterback, the head of the class in ways that are truly a throwback and by throwback I mean a fish not big enough. Nashville's growth is welcome, it is necessary and it is a good thing. But when every conversation starts with, "You should have seen it when..." it means that people here are not letting go of the past they live in it.
I laugh at not with these my neighbors as I need to laugh or I would spend most of my time in tears. I had to leave Seattle that time had come to a close and I needed to find affordable dental care that I cannot wait to complete for many reasons but my patience here is tested daily and I am responsible for that alone. I cannot change them but I can change how I respond. So my resolution is to laugh more as the world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.