To the editor: Thank you for using the phrase “sexual harassment” to describe the allegations that got former UC Irvine geneticist Francisco J. Ayala banished from campus, as opposed to “sexual assault,” which implies vulgar groping or forced penetration.
Sexual harassment is perceived differently, depending on the individual. In this case, I cannot understand why Benedicte Shipley, UC Irvine’s assistant dean of biological sciences, simply did not tell Ayala to please stop touching and kissing her.
What has happened to basic self confidence? Why can’t a woman or a man express mature thoughts on being touched by a colleague? It is wrong to hide — yes, hide — behind the excuse that one may be admonished for expressing his or her thoughts.
Sexual assault is heinous. But if a women or a man believes that someone’s behavior is “creepy” or unwanted, he or she should talk to the offending person.
Marcia Barnett, Laguna Beach
To the editor: Too many men grab women by the waist, hug them, kiss them or do whatever. They don’t do that to men, so why should they do it to women?
Men just assume it’s OK because women should be thrilled to have their attention. Well, it’s not OK.
Look at all the photos you see of men with women who are not their spouses. The men are often seen, when standing next to other men, with their hands to their sides — but put a man next to a woman, and he will often have an arm around her even if he barely knows her.
This is wrong.
Wendy Averill, Culver City
To the editor: Did any of the complainants besides the one noted ever, even once, tell Professor Ayala to “back off”?
Arthur Cohen, Los Angeles