Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment in the workplace is simply and unequivocally wrong. In the Church, it is an abomination. Leadership that does not address such issues, turns a blind eye to allegations and does not do its due diligence in protecting both staff and congregants should be dismissed. Peacemaker Ministries is a good resource for responding to conflict (

People, (and I include men in that “people”) are often unaware of how a behavior is offensive to another. If you take offense to some behavior, then call it on the spot. Give the person the benefit of the doubt and then simply ask them never to repeat the behavior.

Brought to my attention is how to handle inadvertent sexual harassment. People not sensitive to this issue may have behaved in an inappropriate manner and not realized it. To maintain a healthy environment, it becomes the offended party’s responsibility to inform the offender that their behavior is not acceptable.

Hugs are signs of support, comfort, and congratulations. Side hugs, if welcomed, are the only appropriate kind to give to those outside your hugging tribe. If they are not welcome that also is harassment. If you get a side hug and were uncomfortable with the contact, immediately inform the hugger, that you don’t want them to continue such behavior with you.

Concerning myself, living in the South for some years I picked up the colloquialism of sometimes calling a member of the opposite gender “darling.”  If I ever called you “darling” and you took offense to this, please let me know so that I can apologize for my insensitivity personally. It was not meant to be demeaning, it was meant to be a fond greeting, just like the waitress who calls me “honey,” nothing untoward was meant by such communication.

For information about harassment in the workplace you will find the listed websites helpful.


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