On Sexual Harassment: Change Your Corporate Culture and Change Expectations

Harvey Weinstein has fallen from grace of Hollywood after sexual harassment reports

Guest Commentary

Published October 27, 2017

With all the revelations of sexual harassment recently and unwanted sexual attention, it almost feels like it is becoming normalized. After all, at the highest level it has been excused away as “boys being boys!”

Every woman is someone’s daughter, mother, sister, aunt, grandma, wife, girlfriend or friend who is a woman. Are you really okay with them being reduced to merely sex objects? Of course, human beings are sexual beings but that is only part of humanity. Regardless of sexual desire, control and domination as the case usually is, no other human deserves to be subordinated or treated one dimensionally.

Sault Ste. Marie Tribal Chairperson Aaron Payment – Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert

Change your corporate culture and change expectations. As the lead administrator in the past, I have changed behavior by changing expectations. I have exercised my role by stopping “shop talk” as inappropriate. Even distasteful humor is designed to (consciously intentional or not) to control or dominate others by making them uncomfortable and is a violation of other’s human and civil rights. So stop it. As just another employee with no formal authority, I have made my position known and stopped shop talk in my presence. At times this has been uncomfortable but I sure less so than a woman having to tolerate unwanted sexual attention.

Rule of thumb:  Would you do, or say it, in front of your Gram, mom or sister? If not, don’t do or say it!

In the future, we will look back and ask ourselves, why did this take so long?  Why did we tolerate or remain silent for so long?

We can be the change today. Change your own behavior and those you come in contact with and change the world!

Aaron Payment is the tribal chairperson of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, based in Sault Ste. Michigan. With over 43,000 tribal citizens, the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe is the largest tribe east of the Mississippi and operates gaming and enterprises.  In addition to his role as tribal chairperson of his tribe, Payment serves as first-vice president for the National Congress of American Indians and serves on a tribal advisory board for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In August 2015, he was named to the National Advisory Council on Indian Education by President Obama.

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