Sexual harassment is a problem that has permeated our society. I have heard stories from so many of my friends, my constituents and my colleagues of being sexually assaulted or harassed, and many of these stories do not end with the aggressor being held accountable.
In the wake of the #MeToo movement and in response to the many allegations of sexual harassment and assault that have come forward in recent weeks, I have introduced legislation to create a unified policy to address sexual assaults involving New York State employees. This is one step toward a better system to protect people in the workplace from being targeted, and give them recourse if they become victims of someone they work with.
However, this is not enough. Every entity must look internally at their policy for protecting their own, and all allegations must be investigated. It is unacceptable to brush these things under the rug or to turn a blind eye. I, and many other women, am tired of hearing the “as a father, as a husband, I am horrified” speeches upon the media’s coverage of a problem that should have never been allowed to persist.
Furthermore, no person should have to live in silence because of something that happened to him or her. The only outcome worse than a blind eye is when a victim does not feel that they will be taken seriously when coming forward about being harassed or assaulted.
This is not an issue of one bad actor, or one career track having a toxic environment. It does not matter if you are the president, a CEO, a doctor, a parent, a colleague, a boss, a classmate or anyone else, an adult must be held responsible for their actions.
Sandy Galef, Albany
Galef represents Philipstown in the State Assembly.