By Jean Marbella
The Baltimore Sun
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) W. Brad Johnson, co-author of the book, “Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women,” is among those who have seen the #MeToo movement result in men avoiding close interactions with female colleagues.
The Baltimore Sun
It’s become known as the Mike Pence rule, but some men see it as a way of protecting themselves from potential sexual harassment accusations.
The vice president never eats alone with a woman other than his wife, according to a Washington Post article last year, and he won’t attend events featuring alcohol except in her company.
“It was really unhelpful when he said that,” W. Brad Johnson, a psychology professor at the United States Naval Academy, said. “It sounds chivalrous, ‘I’m protecting the little lady’s reputation’, but really it’s just sexism.”
Johnson, co-author of the book, “Athena Rising: How and Why Men Should Mentor Women,” is among those who have seen the #MeToo movement result in men avoiding close interactions with female colleagues, fearing that something may happen that leaves them vulnerable to sexual harassment accusations.
He points to a survey earlier this year by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In organization that found the #MeToo movement has made more male managers reluctant to mentor, work one-on-one, socialize or go on business trips with female colleagues.
The issue has created a lot of unwarranted fear among men, Johnson said, that they’ll do something that inadvertently or otherwise offends and leads to a charge of sexual harassment.
“There’s this false narrative that there are lots of women ready to make false accusations,” he said. “It’s kind of a fake cause for anxiety.”
Michelle Daugherty Siri, executive director of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, said there is a persistent sense that women lie about men in power, despite the fact that those who do make accusations, true or false, often pay a high price for it.