Beginning Today: Our Free Big Class: Stopping Harassment and Creating Cultures of Respect with Gretchen Carlson and Robin Hammeal-Urban

From today through May 28, take our new Big Class: Stopping Harassment and Creating Cultures of Respect with Gretchen Carlson and Robin Hammeal-Urban for free.

Our culture has tended, up until recently, to think of serious sexual harassment as characterizing a bygone era. The television show Mad Men, for example, set in 1960s mad menadvertising firms and including scenes with startlingly blatant sexual harassment, suggest that sexual harassment used to be a serious problem, but also creates a perception of cultural distance between the bad old days and today. If the #MeToo movement has demonstrated anything, however, it has shown that in many twenty-first century professional and social communities, we still accept as a fact of life that powerful people will coerce others into sex and degrade others based on gender.

2016 report by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on workplace harassment  included the results of a random sample survey that found that 25% of female employees reported having been sexually harassed in the workplace. When the term “sexual harassment” was not used in the question, but unwanted sexual advances by employers were described, 40% of female employees reported having experienced these behaviors. When the question described people’s being treated with hostility in relation to their gender (as opposed to experiencing unwanted sexual advances or sexual touching), that percentage went up to 60. This survey demonstrates, first, that sexual harassment in the American workplace is anything but dead, and second, that many women notice sexually inappropriate and gender-biased behavior in their workplaces but don’t define these behaviors to themselves as sexual harassment. The harassment is happening, but victims don’t always recognize it as such.

Nor does harassment stop in the workplace. The sexual assault charges brought against numerous clergy members  in recent years indicate that churches are no more immune to predatory sexual behavior than anywhere else. It is impossible to deny that sexual harassment remains a serious problem across the board in American culture.

In this class, two women who advocate against sexual harassment join together to show us how to resist it, particularly in our faith communities. In 2016, Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News journalist, brought charges against Roger Ailes after having been dismissed from her job for refusing to have sex with him. Her choice eventually forced Ailes to resign from his position at Fox News (where several other women have spoken out about his having harassed them as well) and opened doors for other women to report their experiences with sexual harassment.  Today, she focuses much of her energy on advocating for gender equality in the workplace.

Robin Hammeal-Urban is Canon for Mission Integrity and Training for the Diocese of Connecticut. She is an attorney who specifically works to train faith communities on ways to build respectful interaction and resist sexual harassment. She also helps the church respond to situations involving sexual misconduct. She has written a book about rebuilding trust in faith communities in the wake of leadership misconduct and has many ideas about how communities of faith in particular can build respectful cultures.

In this course, Gretchen and Robin will educate you about how to define sexual harassment, why it’s important to speak out about it (and why it can be so difficult to do so), ways in which churches and individuals can respond to harassment, and ways to build faith communities that encourage respect. We hope that their guidance helps each of you as we work together to create a culture that truly respects the dignity of every human being.

We hope that you will join students across the world in learning about how to resist sexual harassment. For a preview of the course, please click here.

Register Now for Our Free Big Class: Stopping Harassment and Creating Cultures of Respect with Gretchen Carlson and Robin Hammeal-Urban


Register now for our upcoming Big Class: Stopping Harassment and Creating Cultures of Respect with Gretchen Carlson and Robin Hammeal-Urban. The class will be available free worldwide May 14-May 28.

The #MeToo movement has been so powerful that Time Magazine wrote its annual Person of the Year 2017 article about the people who came forward with their stories of rape, harassment, and other unwanted sexual advances from leaders in their professions and in other power positions. The men who revealed to have used their positions to demand sex or to harass people sexually came from many professions — from TV anchorman Matt Lauer to internationally respected playwright Israel Horovitz; from former Minnesota Senator Al Franken to New Orleans celebrity chef John Besh.

That these men were powerful in so many different professions and cultural arenas indicates the diverse range of ordinary people who have faced unwanted sexual advances in their day-to-day lives — from junior chefs trying to work their way up in New Orleans to aspiring actors trying to make a living in theater to people who work for senators in Washington. These powerful men got away with what they were doing because the culture allowed it. And as the #MeToo movement demands justice for the victims of sexual harassment, the movement also asks for change. It demands that people in power positions treat colleagues and junior colleagues with respect and that our culture no longer empower people to use positions of strength to demand sex or harass people sexually.

In the Episcopal Baptismal Covenant, we vow to respect the dignity of every human being. The #MeToo movement gives us a powerful opportunity to fulfill this promise by Carlson and Hammeal-Urbanusing our collective voice to demand change and to discuss ways by which we might enact change in our institutions and on a cultural level. In this class, Gretchen Carlson, a former Fox News anchor and an internationally recognized journalist who wrote the bestselling book Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back works with Robin Hammeal-Urban, a lawyer, Episcopalian, and sexual misconduct expert to help educate and open discussion about stopping sexual misconduct in our culture and creating cultures that demand that leaders treat people in their scope of power with respect.

Register for this class for free any time from now through May 28. For a preview of the course, please click here.