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Comfort or support, in private or in public.

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I feel a need to comment on this most recent allegation of being ‘violated’ in some way by the beloved Joe Biden. First, this presumed incident took place 5 years ago. Why now?

This Nevada politician was getting support from Biden, not affection. Does it take 5 years to suddenly feel inappropriately touched or kissed? Really? What’s changed.

We cannot put Biden in the same category or even sentence of those who have set the fires of the me#2 movement. A lesson learned long ago and sadly too often personally, and of course, in my work in HR and forever training in, and training of, and writing policies on sexual harassment – there are some very practical points.

First — if something makes you feel violated, harassed or simply uncomfortable – say something. SAY SOMETHING – at that moment to the person(s) who made you feel that way; even if you need to take them to aside to avoid humiliation or embarrassing yourself or them. Most times, that person may not realize that their own long-lived tendency towards affectionate behavior may be offensive to anyone, particularly if no one has voiced their discomfort to them.

Second — I am aware of many people who don’t like to be hugged, or touched by anyone. That goes beyond a personal space issue. It’s their own nature that should be respected. Of course, casual acquaintances may not be aware of these boundaries. But if we are at all conscientious of others, have any sense of emotional intelligence – we may be able to sense that hesitation by others, through their own cues. Do they hug back or hold back? Do they consent or do they cringe? We’re not all family or BFFs and in professional scenarios – but many of us (me included) may extend our own congeniality to others because it’s in our nature. We need to be more self-aware in order to recognize the nature of others’.

Lastly – why now? This woman who is now being interviewed because of her accusations is getting a lot of publicity. Is that what she is seeking? If she asked for or was offered support by Joe Biden in her political endeavors back in 2014 – would she not have already been familiar with his personality, his essence, his integrity? But seriously folks – what is behind this accusation? Are there some behind the scenes efforts to derail his prospective 2020 run for president? No matter, this conversation can be continued – and should have no political boundaries as it doesn’t matter within what context these alleged incidents occur. In the workplace, outside the workplace but in business events, in family gatherings, in our academic institutions (grade school and beyond).

If it bothers you, it may likely bother someone else. Say something. If it continues, say it again. If it happens yet again – then speak up a bit louder. Don’t wait five years to say something. Maybe it didn’t feel so inappropriate at the time. What’s changed?

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