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Sexual Harassment Sensitivity and Prevention

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Presentation on theme: "Sexual Harassment Sensitivity and Prevention"— Presentation transcript:

1 Sexual Harassment Sensitivity and Prevention
Bishop Teresa E. Snorton Presiding Bishop Fifth Episcopal District ChristianMethodist Episcopal Church

2 Objectives: To provide…
An understanding of the meaning of sexual harassment An understanding of appropriate ethical behavior for clergy and church leaders An awareness of the consequences of sexual misconduct An affirmation of the denomination and legal positions on sexual harassment

3 Sexual Misconduct Definitions
Sexual abuse Sexual exploitation Sexual harassment

4 Sexual Abuse A generic term to cover any form of improper sexual conduct. Specifically refers to the abuse of persons who lack the ability to protect themselves (children, the elderly, emotionally disabled) Examples include incest, pedophilia, molestation, rape, child prostitution, child pornography

5 Sexual Exploitation A betrayal of trust in a professional relationship
Involves using someone under one’s care for one’s own sexual stimulation and satisfaction Includes intercourse, touching, fondling, kissing, deep embracing, disrobing, verbal suggestions, or dating during the professional relationship.

6 Sexual Harassment The use of one’s power to coerce another into unwanted sexual relations or the exchange of sex for some other favor (quid pro quo). Can be a single event. Involves creating an intimidating or offensive environment through unwelcomed verbal, visual, or physical contact of a physical nature. Usually a pattern of events or series of incidents.

7 Sexual Harassment (Continued)
Includes risque jokes, verbal innuendo, unwelcomed verbal contact, undesired physical contact (kissing, hugging, lap-sitting, patronizing pats and intentional touching of body parts or clothing covering body parts) Also includes inappropriate comments, seductions, requests for social activities, photos, posters, drawings, cartoons, etc.

8 The law Sexual harassment is against the law!
Sexual abuse is against the law! Sexual exploitation is against the law! Rape, sodomy, assault, incest, molestation, child endangerment, harassment, stalking are legal charges that may result from such behavior!


10 A Real Problem (cont) Almost 30% of cases of harassment and abuse involved a member of the clergy as the offender 16% of all cases involved a church staff member as the offender Almost half of harassment and abuse cases are connected to the Church!

11 A Real Problem (cont) The EECO reported 13,136 charges of sexual harassment in 2004. 84% filed by women, 15% filed by men 25% settled or resolved with monetary benefits Total monetary benefits in 2004 was $37,100,000.

12 No church is immune… Catholic Jehovah Witness Baptist
Non-denominational United Methodist Christian Methodist Episcopal At all levels

13 Sexual Harassment Policy of the CME Church
Mandated in the CME Discipline Informed by the Bible and the law Acknowledges that the church has a responsibility to protect all from harm Recognizes that circumstances in the church and other dynamics that can lead to harassment must be avoided

14 Professional Ethics for Ministry
Applies to clergy (ordained and unordained), church officers and leaders, paid and volunteer. Does not compromise the role for personal gain and satisfaction. Adheres to a Code of Sexual Ethics (see attached)

15 Foundations for Sexual Ethics
Purpose of Sexuality To enhance human wholeness To express love and commitment To bring new life into the world To give glory to God The norms are mutuality, love and justice.

16 Sexuality is distorted by:
Unethical behaviors Attitudes Violence Exploitation Infidelity Assertion of Power Treatment of Persons as objects

17 Why some err. . . Inappropriate sexual ethics Unmet personal needs
A sense of entitlement Paternalist attitudes towards church members Unmanaged stress or depression Lack of boundaries

18 The Abuse of Power Sexual misconduct is: A violation of role
A misuse of authority and power Taking advantage of vulnerability An absence of meaningful consent

19 Sacred Trust We must be “safe shepherds”
We must maintain “safe santuaries” We must believe that is NEVER acceptable to cross the boundary between pastor/parishioner. We must be willing to deal with the difficult subject and situations!

20 Guidelines for Avoiding Sexual Misconduct
Be informed Have no secretive meetings with anyone Do not meet in places or under circumstances that could be misread Make your principles known to your congregation and members Live your principles!

21 Guidelines (continued)
Get consultation in dealing with challenging situations or relationships. Ask permission before hugging or touching in the context of prayer, counseling, or other spiritual/religious activity. Search your own heart about your motives and intentions.

22 Guidelines (continued)
Pay attention your own needs and the appropriate place to get them met. Screen and interview all volunteers who will be working on behalf of the church. Get help immediately if you are guilty!

23 The Role of the Local Church
Acquaint members with the CME Policy Conduct workshops on personal and professional ethics Conduct background checks on all church leaders and volunteers Post a list of community resources Practice what you preach!

24 Special Considerations
We have a special obligation to protect the children and youth Federal law requires reporting child abuse and neglect Pay attention to pedophile alerts and other information about exploitative persons, places

25 Reporting Misconduct Church leadership State EEOC office
Local agency (i.e. DFCS) Attorney

26 The Role of the Church in Seeking Justice
Truth-telling Acknowledgement Compassion Protection to the vulnerable Accountability for the abuser Restitution Vindication

27 Notes:

28 Bishop Teresa E. Snorton CME Church
B.A., M. Div., Th.M. D. Min. ACPE Supervisor Board Certified Chaplain Chair of the Board of Trustees, Miles College

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