Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Wondering whether anyone ever said "no"

Some members of the United States women's skeleton team, including the 2002 Olympic gold medalist Tristan Gale, have accused Coach Tim Nardiello of a pattern of sexual harassment dating to 2002.
So begins the story of Coach Nardiello's alleged improper acts -- and they are very improper: patting women's bottoms, making explicit requests for sex, bursting into hotel rooms while they're dressing, etc. Icky. What's interesting about the article is the fact that it appears none of the women ever confronted him directly. That is, the article describes women complaining to committees, and representatives and even Nardiello's wife, but there is no mention ever that these women just said "no" to him. And I'm not talking "no" followed by a threat or a long speech about women's rights. I'm envisioning something along these lines:
Coach: You know, attractive athlete, I really want to hoodle your snickerdoodle. Athlete: Don't say that. It really makes me unconfortable and it's inappropriate. I don't ever want to hear that from you again.
I'm not saying that would have stopped a determined man, with no boundaries, no sense, no tact, and way too much libido, but I wonder. And of course, these young women may all have said that. I suspect, though, remembering my own young woman days, that they did the one "act" the article does describe:
"Many times at the start line of a race, waiting for the light to turn green, Tim would look me up and down and comment how good I looked in my speedsuit," Canfield said. "He has even patted my butt. I would have preferred to focus on my race. He has tried to kiss me on the lips, but I have turned my cheek. I, along with a dozen other athletes, have heard Tim say over the radio, 'The only time I want to see your legs spread like that is if I am between them.'" [Emphasis added.]
Yeah, that's the way to get the message across to an amorous man -- turn your cheek. I'll never forget a self-defense class I took where the woman said one of the ways to stop harassment in its tracks is to be explicit. Many men view that pulling away or turning the cheek as a coy prelude to flirtation. An explicit "no" is what is needed to get their attention.