Defining Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment, a term coined in the 1970s, has existed a long time. It was in the 1970s that a consensus began to grow that such behavior was both morally and legally wrong. The following excerpt from Ms. magazine explains how a loose-knit group of women changed the way in which society viewed this type of behavior.
The women's movement was full blown by the time Lin Farley, a 29- year-old activist, was teaching an experimental course on women and work at Cornell University in 1974. During a consciousness-raising session with her class, students talked about disturbing behavior they had been subjected to on summer jobs; in all cases, the women had been forced off the job by these unwanted advances.
Coincidentally, Carmita Wood, a 44-year-old administrative assistant, walked out of the office of a Cornell physicist after becoming physically ill from the stress of fending off his advances. When Ms. Wood filed for unemployment compensation in Ithaca, New York, claiming it wasn't her fault she had quit her job, the nascent movement acquired its first heroine, as well as a clear delineation of a problem as endemic as the abuse itself. The credibility of an office worker, a mother of four, was pitted against the reputation of an eminent scientist whose status was--