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There Are Two Sides to Sexual Harassment

January 08, 2003

Re "A Higher Degree of Blame," Opinion, Jan. 5: Charlotte Allen's comments on the sexual harassment situation involving former Boalt Hall Dean John Dwyer were a much-needed antidote to other coverage. Elements of the feminist movement have veered toward prudery for decades, and we see the issue of that in overreactive rape-shield laws, sexual harassment laws, Megan's laws, etc. The wimpy demand for strict policies to "protect" women from playboys and the semantic sleight of hand that equates playboys with predators promotes a puritanical, police-state mentality.

I would only question Allen's view that Dwyer paid an "appropriate price" with the loss of his job. He received more-than-ample punishment in the Dec. 9 story dissecting his character and the headline, "Dean Felled by Scandal Had 2 Faces," with its implications of psychosis. And not a whisper about the judgment or character of his accuser, whose name we are not even permitted to know.

Elaine Halleck

Vista

*

Allen's column left me somewhat bemused. As a young, married veteran in graduate school working as a teaching assistant in the early 1950s, I encountered a number of interesting ploys (feminine wiles?) used by coeds. The list includes the "breast and body brush at the blackboard" and the "lean over the desk as far as you can and exclaim, 'Ooh, explain that again, please.' " I'm sure the feminists will object, but I suggest that they tidy up their own stables before complaining about the obvious depravity of the male world.

W.L. Sibley

Northridge

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