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Letters to the Editor: Sexual harassment isn’t about sex, it’s about domination

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks during a news conference in Brooklyn on Feb. 22.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: The Times, like the media in general, fails to show it understands that sexual harassment is mainly about domination and not sex. (“When will powerful men like Andrew Cuomo finally get the #MeToo memo?” editorial, March 4)

A man who has power by reason of his official or corporate position can use sexual harassment to demonstrate to himself and others that he is powerful. That’s why harassers often exercise their power openly, sometimes publicly.

Watch how dogs interact: The aggressor puts its paw on the other dog’s shoulder. If it gets away with that, it will mount the other dog, regardless of the sex. That’s how ranking is established.

Anyone who hopes to prevent sexual harassment has to understand that the prime motive is domination. The Times can help by pointing out that it’s not OK to put a paw on the shoulder of a person who is not in a position to fight back.

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Eleanor Egan, Costa Mesa

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To the editor: Sexual harassment is a legal construct that defines certain behaviors that occur in the workplace as illegal. The behavior must serve to sexualize either the workplace or an individual within it and affect the victims’ ability to perform their work.

In the case of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the allegations put forth by Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett appear to describe sexual harassment. Cuomo’s alleged behaviors sexualized the women, occurred in the workplace and interfered with their ability to work.

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The behavior describe by Anna Ruch, however, does not appear to be sexual harassment. She did not work for Cuomo. The behavior occurred at a wedding, and there is no indication that it inhibited her ability to work.

It is important that we use legal terminology correctly and resist the urge simply to pile on.

Susan Dalton, Goleta

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To the editor: Someone please explain to me why Gov. Gavin Newsom is a “liability” for eating dinner in a restaurant, Cuomo is a “liability” for being creepy, but Govs. Greg Abbott of Texas, Doug Ducey of Arizona, Ron DeSantis of Florida, Brian Kemp of Georgia, Kim Reynolds of Iowa, Tate Reeves of Mississippi, Greg Gianforte of Montana and Kristi Noem of South Dakota are not considered to be liabilities, despite their records of malignant handling of the coronavirus and voting rights.

Craig Arnold, Long Beach


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