Modelling Industry and Sexual Harassment

by Dr. Ari Novick February 29, 2012

Whenever you hear the word ‘modelling’ what comes to your mind? A dirty industry full of sexual harassment and immoralities?  If this is your opinion about the industry, well, you are partially right. This is also the stand of Sara Ziff, a model in US. There is generally a prevalent doubt among aspiring young models and many people if many young models are victims of sexual harassment or not. More often than not, those who fall victims of this sexual harassment are innocent children who thought of catching fun in modelling. Cases of such ugly incidence are now on the increase as Ziff said, recounting his experience in the industry. Imagine a 16-year-old girl on her first modelling shoot in Paris being harassed! Sara Ziff herself also gave her ugly experience where she was made to snap naked on her first day of modelling in an interview with Jessica Bennett a senior writer and editor at Newsweek and The Daily Beast.

The The Global Post reports the modelling industry should be meant for artistic purposes in view to advertising a product. The industry could have been morally and economically propitious had certain measures been put in order. The essence of modelling should not be for sexual harassment as we witness today, however the intrusion of women hawkers have left a blemish on the industry.  Modelling industry should be a glamour and fashion field completely free of this menace. And in reality, the industry should be an open ground for both males and females in which each gender models for each other and not customised by females only which has greatly culminated into the increase in the immoralities. Funny enough, females now model virtually for everything, even things that deal exclusively with male.

The current trend in the industry indeed calls for urgent control measures. Public awareness on this evil menace will be helpful in this; an identified problem is a problem half-solved. It is to this effect that Sara Ziff, a model in US, from the various scenes she has witnessed in the industry, launched her non- profit group, Model Alliance. According to the model, this group is meant to propagate the need for security and protection for the models within the industry especially to the children. Also, in an interview with BBC NEWS, Ziff disclosed that she saw how the modelling industry breaks child labour law, lacks financial transparency and permits sexual misconduct among people within the industry.

In another development to protect the innocent models, a legal expert Susan Scafidi in an interview with the BBC NEWS, said that the workplace needs a strong backstage privacy policy which will arrest various reported cases in which models found their half-naked photos on different website on the internet. With all these outcries, there is still all hope that the industry may soon be sanctified and free from the hands of sex hawkers.

However, while these experts are busy with the legal way to restore morality and dignity back to the industry, there should exist an online avenue for awareness of the public especially the teenagers who are the most users of the internet. Children should be careful when thinking of being models especially not now that the coast is dark. Lastly, Sara Ziff was asked in an exclusive interview if she could allow her daughter to go into the industry, she said: “No! Especially with what is going on now”

SHSU Fails to Dismiss Sexual Harassment Case in Art Department

by Dr. Ari Novick February 27, 2012

Sexual harassment in colleges is reaching an all time high. What many people don't realize is that the majority of the cases take place within the schools infrastructure, not with the students. Sexual harassment against faculty members is all too common in today's college news, such as the case at SHSU. A federal sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit has been filed against Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas in the name of two art faculty members.

The individual charged with sexual harassment, specifically, is the Art Department Chair of 2008, Tony Shipp. Shipp hired two additional faculty members in 2008; they were a married couple by the name of Garry and Jasmyne Graybill.

After a short while, the married couple felt that the situation had gotten beyond being able to ignore, so they went to the Dean of Arts, Jaime Hebert. When Shipp found out about this, the married couple claims, Shipp refused to give them the promised merits raises and even posted their jobs as open.

Ever since its start, this case has had its ups and downs. On January 9th, the defense made a motion to have the case dismissed. On the same day, a U.S. Magistrate recommended the same thing, but in the same swift act, denied it outright.

The sexual harassment suit was also eventually dropped. That's not because the Graybills feel differently, they just couldn’t prove that it created a hostile work environment. The couple also couldn’t show that the University was infringing on their Civil Rights.

The Graybills insist that Shipp constantly asked the couple out on dates as a 3-way group. The school fights the allegations with the fact that it didn’t create a hostile work environment. The school instigates that the claims only “suggest” that there was any type of sexual harassment or that he was threatening with their continued employment.

SHSU holds firm to their claims that the allegations cannot be proven to be threatening to their safety, humiliating to their reputations, or have long-term effects on their feelings of personal worth. The school is also adamant that Shipp did not make the sexual harassment or invitations as a part of their continued employment, or pay, in any way. A trial date has been set for late 2012,  that should give both sides plenty of time to get their stories together. With the Magistrate looking down on the case and the failing of the sexual harassment suit, a retaliation suit looks dim on the horizon.

In the meantime, these problems facing colleges seem to continue to sprout up all over the country. The best we can do, as parents, teachers, and friends, is to make sure we are educated and prepared for the situation if it should ever occur. The best way to do that is by taking a class. Sexual harassment classes online can inform and prevent better than any another tool that can be utilized.

Sexual harassment does not have to be part of our schools, our jobs, or our lives. By taking sexual harassment education classes, our generations to come can avoid these problems and prevent them when they do happen.


Sexual Harassment Is One of the Main Obstacles in the Workplace Facing Women

by Dr. Ari Novick February 23, 2012

In most cases of sexual harassment that catches the public's attention, it usually involves a rich or prominent businessman or government leader. The reality of sexual harassment though, is that it happens to average people on a daily basis all over the country. If you're not a victim of sexual harassment you may not even care that it's going on, but with any sex crime, the repercussions for the victim are immense.

Women working in nearly every field and of every ethnicity experiences sexual harassment at some point in their life. Some case studies have reported that girls as young as seven have been sexually harassed in school or in the street. This trend continues on into older ages and even into the workplace.

Minority women are one of the largest groups of sexually harassed women in the US. For instance, a poll was completed regarding the southern US farming industry. The result of the poll reported that over 75% of the women working in farms, mostly of Latino heritage, called sexual harassment the main problem of working.

In 2011, over 1/3 of all sexual harassment claims were filed from inside restaurant establishments. The complaints and charges were filed against both employees and customers. Over 20% of the victims of restaurant-based sexual harassment were of Latino descent, making a widening circle of discrimination for the minorities among our great country.

It stands to reason that women and immigrants are the most susceptible to sexual harassment and other labor issues in the low wage areas of employment. Another scary result of a survey conducted by the SPLC reports that half of the deaths that involved Latino women at work were due to assaults and/or sexual attacks.

Regardless of the political standpoint, no human being deserves to be attacked or beaten, sexually or otherwise. It is up to us, as a nation of laws, to respect peace as much as humanly possible while enforcing our laws to the best of our ability. We could say, simply, just speak up and stop the abuse right when it starts. This seems like a simple answer, but it can be just the opposite.

In the real world, it can be quite a complicated one. In the case of immigrants, especially of Latina origin, speaking up could get them deported, or at least risk it. That could take them thousands of miles away from their families and children, negating the purpose of risking everything to come here. To lawful American immigrants, it can seem like a short cut, but huge amounts of risk were still involved. Going back is not an option for many, or for their families.

Because of this, and despite the story behind illegal immigrants in general, it is important to protect the growing number of harassed and abused Latinas in the workplace. To do this, the LCLAA has decided to create the Trabajadoras Campaign. The group wants to use a "gender lens" to work out sexual harassment and abuse problems for Latinas in the workplace all over the country.


New York University in Midst of Sexual Harassment Scandal

by Dr. Ari Novick February 19, 2012

The case that is ongoing in New York University is much like what happens all over the country on a weekly, or even daily, basis. An employer offers a promotion then asks for sexual favors in return. In this case, the problems took longer to develop, but sexual harassment none-the-less.

The sexual harassment case facing NYU right now started innocently enough, as a business dinner to discuss the work of an employee’s new promotion. The dinner was to go over the details of Stephanie Bonadio's new position at the University's School of Real Estate. She claims that the dinner turned out to be nothing of the sort, that it was more about sexual propositions and images by her boss James Stuckey.

Her attorney filed the harassment suit with the Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday, January 25th. For months after her apparent promotion, she performed her work duties to the best of her ability, trying to be sure that the office expectations were met. Unfortunately, she never heard word of the formalization of her raise. Finally, on September 23, her boss invited her out to dinner to discuss the promotion. Stephanie Bonadio claims that she thought the dinner was going to be about the final details of the raise.

When she arrived at the business dinner, James Stuckey met her and they ordered dinner. At some point during the duration of the meal, Bonadio claims that Stuckey grabbed her hand and made her place it on his crotch to feel how excited he was. The dinner ended and Bonadio soon reported the incident. The University informed her that Stuckey had resigned from his position due to health problems shortly after being reported.

This may be an isolated incident, it may even be a case of "he said/she said,” but with a closer look things seem fishy. In 2007, Stuckey also resigned from another position after unknown "bad conduct" at a holiday party. He also resigned from a position in 2011, which was the presidency of the city's Public Design Commission. He reported directly to Mayor Bloomberg with concerns and directives for this commission.

On October 6th, less than a month after the dinner, NYU authorities told Bonadio that she had been terminated and her position no longer existed within the school at all. To contradict this, the NYU Vice President of PR, J. Beckham, told news reporters the victim remains as a paid member of staff. Beckham went on to say that they wanted her to return to work and that the school would never punish a person for being a victim of a sex crime.

Stephanie Bonadio's sexual harassment lawsuit is seeking emotional damages, lawyer costs, lost pay, and court costs. If she is successful, it will put another ding in the reputation of NYU. Damage control is the main key for the school now.

This entire situation could have been stopped, even prevented, if the school had done its research on Stuckey's past offenses. They should have required him to complete an online sexual harassment class before he even began working for the school.


Safelite Still Fighting Sexual Harassment Allegations

by Dr. Ari Novick February 6, 2012

For nearly two years the company Safelite has been fighting sexual harassment charges filed by the UNited States backed committee, the EEOC, or Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Recently, Safelite, headquarters in Columbus, Ohio thought they had beaten the charges, but the EEOC has files a motion of opposition to the ruling.

The EEOC alleges that Safelite knowingly and without care is at fault for the sexual harassment and eventual retaliation of an employee who finally spoke out. The supervisors that once worked there during the instances in question have been let go, the EEOC and the judge has sided against them, but the EEOC still feels it is essential to pursue the case for the victim.

Gregory Byrd is the former supervisor in question, along with a named defendant, is glad the judge found against the EEOC. They are calling for the final end to the case, but it probably won't come anytime soon. At the moment, the presiding judge is blocking the case from going to court. But the EOCC is complaining that there is plenty of factual evidence that could allow a jury to see the case in the plaintiffs favor.

The victim is even considering letting the case go to the way-side. The EEOC is contending that the victim of the sexual harassment, Laraviere-Steele was fearful and emotionally distressed by rejecting the bosses sexual advances. Some of the other support coming to the EEOC is in the form of other employees claiming that Lavariere-Steele kept mentioning the problem.

She supposedly told many of her fellow employees that the supervisor was requesting sexual favors and that it even caused her to miss several days of work. She was eventually terminated from her job, which the EEOC is claiming was due to her not accepting the former supervisors sexual advances.

Safelite is being sued as a whole because the victim told her operations manager about the treatment. Her operations manager was named Tony Roach. She came forward with the allegations and informed him that she was close to resigning because of the uncalled for behavior. The day after she informed her OM, she called in sick due to a fear of attending work. The EEOC is demanding that the courts refuse to accept the motion that was filed for a summary judgement, which would kill the moment of the case.

The court hasn't put forth a final decision, but it is being hotly debated. The final outcome of this case will surely have repercussions for both parties. How long that outcome will take to come out is unknown, but it should be considered carefully. The decision could cost either side more than they bargained for. 



Most Young & Teen Girls Have Been Exposed to Sexual Harassment

by Dr. Ari Novick February 4, 2012

Having a daughter can be one of the most rewarding experiences of anyone's life. However, it's an unfortunate fact of today's society that the vast majority of the school aged girls experience sexual harassment by the age of 12. Many reports show girls as young as 7 being harassed. This can be appalling for the child and the parents. To counter this, there is a select group of professors, and other professionals, that are working on ways to minimize sexual harassment against these young and unfortunate victims.

Penn State University in State College, PA is a prime example of the current problems facing the country today. Sexual harassment seems to been going on actively, right in front of the students and staff. When the news of this first came out, it had detrimental effects to its enrollment numbers. These are the end results of not being taught better early on in their education.

Some of the offenders that are guilty of harassment may think they are only being the class clowns. Their uncalled for comments may even get a laugh from the students or group, but that doesn't mean it's not sexual harassment. The victims will often feel sickened by the incident. On top of this emotional response, the victim often feels a reluctance to even return to classes, no matter the age. This can have severe short-term and long-term effects on a person.

Child development experts from all over the country argue that it doesn't have to be this way. Professors working out of the University of Arizona have been working on programs that can improve the interactions between young boys and young girls. The class programming that is being developed can have a huge impact on the harassment rates among the young. That can save victims in the future. 

These programs have been named the Sanford Harmony Program. It’s being created very carefully to improve the growing relationships between girls and boys. The first opportunity to prove its worth comes from Kyrene. Two schools in the Kyrene area have decided to adopt the program. The schools that have accepted the new program boast the idea that it's a one-of-a-kind chance to improve relationships between these two groups. The improvements main goal is to cut all types of harassment, including sexual harassment.

The program will work to show students different ways of interaction, giving them more information and options on how to properly communicate. The professors creating this program at Arizona University hope to learn several things from this session. They want to understand all the factors that create the bad influences, which lead to harassment. A side effect of this class is expected to be improving the overall learning conditioning of all the students involved.

Harassment, or bullying, can be emotionally scarring to the victims. The offenders may not care at the time, which is even more remarkable. Many of the offending students may also be replicating what they see outside school. The options of knowing there are multiple ways to communicate, that doesn't include harassment of any kind, is possible and easy. 



Know How to recognize Sexual Harassment

by Dr. Ari Novick February 2, 2012

Sexual harassment lawyers from all over the US agree, in order to stop sexual harassment you have to know what it is. Without being able to know and identify sexual harassment, stopping it is impossible.

Knowing what constitutes a case of sexual harassment is key to recognizing it when you see it. Sexual harassment can be physical advances that are unwanted and unrequested, asking for "sexual favors", and even comments that demean who they are as a person.

Many cases of sexual harassment within the United States include bosses offering a promotion or pay increase for a sexual favor. Some cases of sexual harassment have even been due to jokes that leave women as the butt of the joke, if it's sexually charged or not. That's due to the difference between men and women, our sexes. If a woman is joked about, it's because she is a woman, and that is sexual harassment.

Those jokes, comments, and sexual prods at the female employees create what is legally called a hostile work environment. Once a hostile work environment can be proved due to sexual harassment, there is a solid case for a cash settlement. That can have huge effects on the company, the employees, and the business as a whole.

There have been various reports released by the EEOC, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the vast majority of offenses have been events that were much more serious than simply breaking company policy. The law doesn't protect any person from isolated teasing or comments. Once the comments and teasing become regular and routine, the victim may feel harassed, and that is a hostile work environment.

The legal standard of sexual harassment stands like this: Courts use the reasonable individual ideal. The comments and harassment has to be so severe that any reasonable individual would show affects in and out of the work place. An employee that is constantly sexually harassed may have been getting treatment for depression, ulcers, anxiety, and a constant feeling of emotional stress that can't be relieved.

The major factors that the courts will take a close look at is the frequency of the harassment, the severity of the offenses, the embarrassment of each instance of harassment, if it's threatening to the physical safety of the employee, and whether or not the conduct actually effects the work performance of the employee. If all of these factors are met, or even the majority of them, the courts could decide to move forward with charges.

One of the best ways to avoid this is by having employees and supervisors take sexual harassment training. When compared to the cost of a sexual harassment case, sexual harassment classes will be a mere drop in the bucket of yearly expenses. The classes per person are low-cost and very effective, especially when done online. That option gives the enrollee the opportunity to learn comfortably in their home. Requiring your employees to take training will prevent harassment through knowledge. As I said before, the number one way to stop sexual harassment is to know what it is and how to identify it. 

About the author

Ari Novick, Ph.D. is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and sexual harassment trainer.

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