Recently, I was at a local financial institution when a middle-aged male patron began harassing the tellers. He rated their attractiveness, romantic lives and solicited a hug or kiss. They politely declined. When one teller refused to discuss her marriage, the harasser looked to another middle-aged male for input. The second male affirmed the harasser’s suggestion — that her marriage was fair to criticize — because “she’s the one who brought it up,” when it was clearly her method of deflection.

The second male exited, smiling, having concluded his financial transaction and participated in the interaction.

I approached the harasser, asking him to stop because his actions were inappropriate. The women deserve to do their job without comment on their appearance or personal lives.

He was offended that a person half his age would intervene. After a small outburst, and at the urging of staff, he left.

I share this story to illustrate that the second male had a chance to do the right thing. Not only did he miss that chance, he actually validated the harassment as normal and funny.

I know many women who work in the local service industry. Sexual harassment is happening in these places on a regular basis.

It is my sincere hope that my fellow adult men will please help shut down sexism and sexual harassment when they see it. It is wrong to participate in sexism, and it is wrong to ignore it.

Craig Saddlemire, Lewiston


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