Protect your peers in your work environments, stand up for what is right

Abbey Whittington, Columnist

Before my ethics classed was dismissed on Tuesday, professor Bryan Murley handed everyone an article to read for our next lecture. 

I have been trying to stop my terrible habit of procrastinating and hitting the snooze button, so I decided to read the article right away.

The article, “The News Industry Has a Sexual Harassment Problem. #NowWhat” was from Nieman Reports and discussed several allegations women made against men in the newsroom for sexual assault. 

Of course, after reading the material I was furious and startled by the many statistics listed in the article. 

It made me think of my past, present and future with a familiar fear. 

I have been in relationships that were emotionally, physically and sexually abusive and experienced this kind of harassment in the workplace. 

The article discussed how most newsrooms consist of men who deal with such harassments by either mocking the victims or not saying anything because they are “uncomfortable.”

Looking at The Daily Eastern News and The Warbler yearbook, I see our staff is mainly made up of women and men who (I hope) would have the human decency to stand up for their peers in such a situation that should not be happening in the first place. 

When I worked at McDonald’s in my hometown at 17 years old, I had a manager who instigated political arguments and made comments that made me very uncomfortable in the workplace. 

I was helping with dishes for my coworkers that had to close, and when I dropped the lid to the tea urn, my manager said I should “do him a favor while I was on my knees.”

When I got pissed he laughed at me. I found out later that several other girls were receiving the same type of harassment along with racist comments. 

As soon as I heard all of the other girls saying they experienced the same thing, I knew I had to report his actions. 

When I was done, I had 14 different reports and notified my general manager. He said nothing, so I put my two weeks in. A few months later the same manager who harassed several employees was promoted to the general manager position. 

This article reminded me of this, and at the time, I assumed this was typical of big corporations like McDonald’s. 

But people were in the same or worse situations as me and they left in what is obviously supposed to be a professional, comfortable work setting. 

The article showed the clear need for education for EVERYONE in the newsroom and, of course, any other job. 

These men might have felt “uncomfortable,” but they should think about how uncomfortable the victims probably were when harassed. 

Several of my friends who have applied for jobs at different news organizations noticed the overwhelming lack of diversity in race, gender and minorities.

Putting someone in power other than a white male might help situations like this from being swept under the rug.

Abbey Whittington is a junior journalism major and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]