“He put his hand on my knee,” she said, describing the behavior of her superior. The conversation had been initiated by him as an opportunity to get to know her better. However, somehow, in the midst of small talk, he deemed it appropriate to pat my friend on her knee.
This is not a natural place for a hand to land in the workplace. It is reserved for a parent when we are young and a spouse when we are older, but not a male colleague. Because of the knee’s proximity to the upper thigh it requires consent to touch: which he did not have.
His careless act left her feeling stuck. Was the touch intentional? Is he just touchy feely? Should she tell, and if so who? Should she confront him? Would speaking up jeopardize her job because of his position of power?
I could not help but think of the domino chain of sexual harassment accusations and admittances that have plagued the media. America has been bombarded with the very public, shameful secrets of inappropriate workplace behavior. We have watched in shock as the blacklist of names has increasingly exposed those we’ve previously celebrated, revered, and seated high on a pedestal of prestige.
And somehow, though the conversation has gotten started, it all feels so open ended. Like a wound without a bandaid, we have delved deeply into a seemingly bottomless abyss with little to no resolution for the accused or the victimized. Nevertheless, this is a prime opportunity for the body of Christ to interject the ageless truth and wisdom of God’s word into such a broken time in history.
Some may question whether the Bible has anything relevant to say about our current plight. Although you won’t find the words sexual harassment in the Bible, God tackled this type of misconduct on more than one occasion.