Clarifying Remarks About Sexual Misconduct – December 11, 2017
In the Takeaway on Friday, I admitted to sexual assault in my past. My goal was to show that men who have mistreated women can do something about it. We can take the initiative, own up to our misdeeds, and remove some of the risk and burden of coming forward from the women we have hurt. That statement was not the right time to get into the details, but that time has come.
By today’s standards, as I understand them, sexual assault is any time someone touches another person without their express consent. In the summer of 2015, while out for drinks with a good friend, I did that to her. At various moments during the night, I touched her legs and her back, and later put my arms around her and kissed her neck, all without her permission.
She never said no, but she never said yes. I regret those actions and know they were wrong. I expressed my sincere regret to the woman, and apologized to her. I’m grateful that she forgave me. She also told me she never thought of what I did as assault, and we are still good friends.
The point of that Takeaway was that men can take action to fight the toxic effects of our country’s legacy of male dominance. The biggest lesson I have learned so far is the importance of the feelings, the experience, and the voice of the mistreated person. In most cases, these conversations start with a woman or man bravely coming forward with claims of abuse or harassment. Their claims are then evaluated, often in the harsh light of public scrutiny and at the risk of personal criticism.
In my case there is no accusation. This evening stood out in my mind and I wanted to speak about it precisely because it was unusual for me. Any man can do this. I regret not saying something sooner, and am grateful she could forgive me.
This example highlights the fact that terms like “sexual assault” and “sexual harassment” are not narrow and specific. They cover a wide swath of behaviors, some of which may elicit more or less severe public reactions. These details matter, but what is most important is creating an atmosphere where women and men who have been mistreated feel safe coming forward to tell their stories. They should be taken seriously, and their claims should be evaluated without prejudice.
Too often, reactions to claims of sexual misconduct are filtered through existing lenses of partisanship or cultural bias. The facts are not as important as the outcome. This sad reality can potentially discourage those who have been hurt from coming forward in the first place, and make the experience of speaking out risky and painful. These people have already been made to feel powerless, so men should bear the burden and come clean.
I hope other men will feel that they can address the mistakes they have made. That they can ask forgiveness and accept appropriate consequences — because we all need to be part of the solution.
WHBY Statement Regarding Josh Dukelow’s Remarks
We understand that many of our listeners had concerns and questions following Josh Dukelow’s Fresh Take broadcast titled “Coming Clean About Sexual Misconduct.” While we knew Josh was going to address the topic of sexual harassment, we were unaware of the admissions or specific information he planned to disclose. Following his comments Friday, we immediately began gathering information and have had several conversations with Josh. As a company, we take sexual harassment very seriously and are diligent with incorporating employee training and policies. We have never received any sexual harassment allegations against Josh. At this time, given the details he has provided — both to us and now publicly — there will be no changes to his current employment with our station.
— Kelly Radandt, general manager, Woodward Radio Group