Banks County Opinions...

APRIL 14, 2004


Column

By: Shar Porier
The Banks County News
April 14, 2004

How do you decide ‘enough is enough?’
Sexual harassment. Who’d have thought such a thing could still happen? It’s deja-vu for me. I’ve been there, as have many, many women, faced with the question of what to do. It’s a difficult situation and unless you’ve been there, you can’t imagine the turmoil.
Women have always had a difficult time in the work place. Enduring sexual comments, remarks, insinuations, and down-right crudeness was a regular and insulting part of the nine-to-five workplace, particularly before the equal rights amendment finally passed in 1972.
In the 60’s things were so different. Not only were we targets of verbal barrages, but we made less money than our male counter-parts. When the ERA was passed, in our corporation, women received retroactive pay for the discrimination. It was a fine day on both counts.
Though we now are supposed to be protected from harassing remarks in the work place and have a legal method to resolve the issue, it doesn’t mean that we are safe from such predators. Every work place has the potential to employ a bully. There are some men who care little for such laws. They care little for decency, for that matter.
So, the harassment continues.
Sometimes, men just don’t get it. They think it’s just harmless fun. And for some that may be so. It doesn’t make it right, though.
When you feel your skin crawl and get this feeling in the pit of your stomach, you know you’ve been insulted and the feeling of being almost defiled wells up inside.
Dealing with the fact that someone in power chose you to humiliate, degrade and shame leaves you confounded. It’s undeserved and unwanted. It hurts and angers. It leaves you isolated, off balance.
And the first thought that crosses your mind is: “What did I do to deserve this?”
We women have been ingrained to blame ourselves first. We wonder if we had somehow encouraged the behavior. We question the way we dress. But no matter how many questions we ask ourselves, the answer to each we know in our hearts is always “No!”
We want to tell what happened, but fear how we will be perceived. We fear losing our jobs. We fear the confrontation we deeply desire to obtain the apology we know we deserve. We know we have to do all the explaining. We are the ones putting it on the line.
How we react to such inexplicable, undeserved attacks on our femininity lies within our own expression of strength of character, our own process of reasoning. We are all different and however we chose to deal with the unkindness, inconsiderateness of a particular man will be different.
Fear is a strong motivator, though. It can put you on the defensive or on the offensive.
Some women go for the throat, others let it pass.
As for me, I couldn’t let it pass. That man was not going to treat me or any other woman like that again. I handled it through the district manager of my department. He put an end to it when there was no law. I was lucky to have such a boss.
But, ladies, there is one thing to keep in mind. What a man has just done to you also adversely affects him. He knows fear, too. He may be sure of himself on the outside, but he faces the uncertainty of his actions. Experience, he thinks, has taught him which women to target. It gives him a sense of control and power. He believes he has it figured out because no one has called him out. He can do it whenever he pleases to whoever he chooses. And there lies his weakness, his cockiness. Inevitably, he will misjudge a target.
Shar Porier is a reporter for The Banks County News.

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Column

By: Angela Gary
The Banks County News
April 14, 2004

Lots to do this spring, summer
Spring has just arrived and I’m already busy making plans for trips and concerts. When the weather warms up, I’m ready to head to an outdoor concert or other fun outing.
For several years now, I have bought season tickets to the country music shows at Hiawassee, which is only a short drive from our area. Individual tickets are also offered and there are plenty of great stars scheduled this year.
The season kicks off on May 1 with Trace Adkins and Darryl Worley. I love both of these performers. I saw Trace at Hiawassee last year and he did a great job. Darryl Worley is also a favorite of mine. I met him at Fan Fair two years ago and he was so friendly to all of the fans who stopped by for a photograph and autograph.
Others on the schedule include: Terri Clark and Mark Wills, May 29; Tracy Byrd and Don Williams, June 12; Aaron Tippin and Blake Shelton, July 10; Charlie Daniels and Marty Stuart, Aug. 14; Diamond Rio and Brian McComas, Sept. 4; Patty Loveless, Craig Morgan and Jimmy Wayne, Sept. 25; and Neal McCoy and Trick Pony, Oct. 23.
The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee is a great place to go to concerts. The shows are family oriented and no alcohol is served. The crowd doesn’t get rowdy like they do in some of the big arenas in Atlanta where alcohol is served.
The theater is small and all of the seats give you a good view of the stage. You are allowed to go to the front of the stage for the first two songs by each artist and get photographs. You can also take photos throughout the show from your seat.
There are two shows each night — at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $23 each, plus a $2 handling fee. For more information, call (706) 896-4191.
Several other events are held at the Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds each year, including the Rhododendron Festival May 1-2 and May 7-9; the Georgia Mountain Fair, July 21-Aug. 1; and the Georgia Mountain Fall Festival, Oct. 8-17.
Information on the fairgrounds can be found on the Internet at www.georgia-mountain-fair.com.
Another fun event coming up in the next few months is one that I wrote about last year, Day Out With Thomas at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Dillsboro, N.C. Several people called after I wrote about this last year and wanted information on when this event will be held again.
It will be held July 24-Aug. 1 with 30-minute rides available throughout the day. Thomas the Tank Engine leads the train rides and kids can have their photograph made with the engine and visit with Sir Topham Hat.
Tickets are $14 per person and can be purchased online at www.gsmr.com or by calling 1-800-872-4681.
Other special events are held at the railroad throughout the year, including a railfest in September and a ride with Santa in December. There are also gourmet dinner train and mystery theater nights scheduled throughout the year, as well as regular and special excursions.
Angela Gary is editor of The Banks County News and associate editor of The Jackson Herald. She can be reached at AngieEditor@aol.com.


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