Letter to the Editor
I am writing about the January 2019 article, “How to Investigate #MeToo.” The author may have been well-meaning, but this statement in his opening paragraph reveals how much equivocation persists on this topic: “When true, the events behind these stories can leave the victims and their families scarred and damaged for life.”
Why is there a need to equivocate in this statement by suggesting that victims’ “stories” may not be true? Given the pain and suffering endured by those who seek justice for sexual assault and harassment, it is not only unlikely but there is no evidence to support that many victims are filing false claims. Sexual abusers and harassers are masters of committing their crimes when there are no witnesses so they will have plausible deniability. And so, the cycle of victim blaming continues.
It would have been easy for the author to say, “Sexual assault and harassment often leave victims and their families scarred and damaged for life.” This truthful statement avoids introducing the opportunity for those who treat #MeToo as a hoax perpetrated by manhaters and opportunists to once again dismiss the problem. Unfortunately, the author’s statement opens the door for that thinking and, hopefully unintentionally, enables it. On such a sensitive topic as this, please choose your words more carefully and check your personal biases at the door.
A 30-year veteran in the security and IT publishing industries
Thank you for taking the time to comment on my article. My use of the formation, “when true” in the first paragraph was in reference to the previous sentence: “Many of these reports follow a similar scenario—a middle-aged, executive-level man allegedly uses his power and influence to target, and sometimes sexually assault, a person over whom he has power.” The phrase is not intended to attack the accuser. I am sure all would agree that regardless of the source, a professional investigator—assuming of course, that he or she follows industry standards such as the ASIS International Investigation Standard (ASIS/ANSI INV.1-2015) and best practices—should assert only that which can be sufficiently and properly proven.
Gene Ferraro, CPP, PCI, CFE, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
Forensic Pathways, Denver, Colorado
Covering the #MeToo Movement
Security personnel must maintain objectivity and apply best practices to all internal investigations to ensure that the results of these investigations are accurate. This, in turn, helps investigators gain the trust and cooperation of employees.
While it may seem biased against the accuser to approach all parties involved in a sexual harassment accusation as equally credible, it is crucial to assess each situation thoroughly and on its own merits.
For a more detailed account of this approach, readers can reference “Fair and Neutral,” an article by Steve C. Millwee, CPP, in our March 2018 issue. Millwee addresses why, when addressing sexual harassment allegations, investigators must be sure not to form an opinion about the truth of the accusations until the investigation is complete.
Millwee writes: “When these accusations come out, many organizations are quick to end established relationships with the person being accused—usually to protect the enterprise and the brand, but also to show support for those reporting the allegations. However, it is important to remember that conducting a competent investigation to uncover the truth is vital. It protects the enterprise and all parties involved, and it will encourage other victims of misconduct to come forward.”
Security Management is pleased to offer a forum to discuss this critical issue. We welcome comments on the topic via letters to the editor, on our social media feeds, and through ASIS Connects.
Vice President, Editorial
Editor-in-Chief, Security Management