Home Roland Rocchiccioli Formally stated, Newton’s third law is: For every action, there is an...

Formally stated, Newton’s third law is: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

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The statement means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects.

If you apply that theory to our personal relationships it means – more or less – if you do something to me which it disagreeable, antisocial, inappropriate, or threatening, I will respond.

The sexual harassment controversy which is sweeping the world is a perfect example of Newton’s third law. While the majority agree our lives, private and professional– and that includes both genders should be free from any form of harassment, there is a minority, male and female, who believe they can behave with impunity, regardless of the resulting damage – physical and emotional. It is apparent the majority of perpetrators are men, although there are a number of predatory women in the workplace. Either way, we all need to be a contributing and vital part of the remedial action; to do what is demanded to eradicate the unacceptable and unlawful behaviour; however, while there should no attempt to dismiss or underestimate the emotional suffering of the victims, or to condone, in any way shape or form, the behaviour of the perpetrators, it would appear that some men are working and living in fear of being falsely accused, and having their professional and personal lives ruined.

Recently, I read a plaintiff’s brief for a harassment charge which is coming before the Courts. His recall is diametrically opposed to the defendant’s version of events and paints a entirely different picture from the media version of events.While the majority of exposed cases are true and accurate, there is a number which are Machiavellian – the wrath of romantic scorn or professional jealousy. That is dangerous and has the potential to be divisive in the most destructive manner.

An article in the Washington Post was especially troubling: ‘Men are scared, and feminists are delighted, but the urge to call out and punish male sexual transgression is bound to clash with an inescapable truth: We’re all in this together, men and women.

Consider what’s happening in the capital of Florida.

Female staffers and lobbyists have found “many male legislators will no longer meet with them privately,” reported the Miami Herald. “I had a senator say, ‘I need my aide here in the room because I need a chaperone,’ ” lobbyist Jennifer Green told the paper. “I said, ‘Senator, why do you need a chaperone? Do you feel uncomfortable around me?’‘Well,’ he said, ‘anyone can say anything with the door shut.’” “I’m getting the feeling that we’re going back 20-years as female professionals,” said Green, who owns her company. “I fully anticipate I’m going to be competing with another firm that is currently owned by some male, and the deciding factor is going to be: ‘You don’t want to hire a female lobbying firm in this environment.’ ” This kind of thinking is catching on in aggressively P.C. Silicon Valley, where men are taking to message boards like Reddit to express interest in sex segregation — sometimes labeled: “Men Going Their Own Way,” or the: “Man-o-Sphere.” How will that work out for women in the tech industry, where they already face substantial challenges? Across industries: “Several major companies have told us they are now limiting travel between the genders,” Johnny Taylor, president of the Society for Human Resource Management, told the Chicago Tribune, citing executives who tell men not to go on business trips or share rental cars with women co-workers.

UCLA psychologist Kim Elsesser, the author of “Sex and the Office,” sees a nascent “sex partition.” If men start to back away from women, at least in professional settings, it’s difficult to see how that will aid the feminist cause.

As is characteristic of movements led by the left in general, #MeToo faces the prospect of being seen to push too far, too fast. Not long ago, the British magazine ‘The Spectator’ depicted the cause as a feminist Reformation, with a modern woman nailing her demands to the door of a church like Martin Luther.

Outraged feminists. triggered by “Thérèse Dreaming,” a suggestive 1938 painting of a clothed pubescent girl by the Polish-French artist Balthus, demanded the Metropolitan Museum of Art remove it. (The Met, to its credit, refused.) Mums are dressing their sons in humiliating “The Future Is Female” T-shirts. The women’s website Bustle banned the word “flattering” because it implies there’s an ideal shape for a woman, and we all know women aren’t interested in looks.

Writing in ‘The American Interest’, Claire Berlinski calls the #MeToo movement “a frenzied extrajudicial warlock hunt that does not pause to parse the difference between rape and stupidity” and “a classic moral panic, one that is ultimately as dangerous to women as to men.” She tells a story about how she just discovered she has a new power: the power to ruin the career of a professor she knew at Oxford who grabbed her butt 20-years ago while drunk at a party. “I was amused and flattered,” she writes, saying: “I knew full well he’d been dying to do that. Our tutorials — which took place one-on-one with no chaperones — were livelier intellectually for that sublimated undercurrent.

He was an Oxford don and so had power over me, but I also had power over him — power sufficient to cause a venerable don to make a perfect fool of himself at a Christmas party. Unsurprisingly, I loved having that power.” Reformers should keep her underlying point in mind: Change may be good, but be wary of unintended consequences. Turning men and women into hostile opposing camps is not going to be good for either sex.’ There is no argument: Women modify, dramatically, the workplace dynamic, and invariably for the greater good. It would be a resounding catastrophe if the irresponsible determination of sometimes over-zealous reformers were to create, inadvertently, a hostile state where women were, once again, relegated to lesser roles and being subservient to their male colleagues.

That would provetotally counterproductive, and a cataclysmic loss to our already fragile society.

Roland can be heard each MONDAY morning on 3BA at 10.30.

Contact: rolandroc@bigpond.com