FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — With sexual harassment accusations flooding the news lately, there are some necessary conversations parents should have with their children.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff found out, an empowering message should start early.
The fall of powerful men has young men digesting the daily dose of sexual misconduct claims by women who felt they couldn’t say anything.
“I guess they were raised in a generation where you kept your mouth shut,” said Farmingdale State College freshman Mike DiRusso. “Otherwise, you couldn’t get anywhere.”
DiRusso and other Farmingdale State College freshmen say they have been taught a crystal clear lesson. .
“Growing up, my mom always taught me to respect women; to treat them how you want to be treated; consent is mandatory in all relationships,” said college freshman Dante Dellaporta.
Federal law requires that faculty and students receive sexual harassment training. In it, they are taught that “no means no” is not enough.
“It has to be an active yes,” said Andrea Thomas of Farmingdale State College. “When someone is engaging in a sexual activity, you have to say yes, or you have to give an affirmative consent.”
Young women say they have been taught that unwanted sexual advances or inappropriate touching demand immediate action.
“I grew up with having self-respect,” said college freshman Jessica Scafa. “What you chose to do you have your own dignity.”
But what happens when young women and men transition to the workplace, where power can abused to obtain sex with careers on the line?
The Moshés, who oversee a large Plainview real estate agency, said the message to employees is the same as what they have taught their daughters.
“There are two types of self-respect. There is respecting other people and there is self-respect, said Joe Moshé. “When you have self-respect, you won’t let people intimidate you.”
“If something didn’t feel right, it usually wasn’t,” said Pam Moshé, “and to go with your gut and say something.”
A conversation can begin with the youngest children. Child expert Patti Cathers said by middle school, it is time for more specifics.
“You may want to share a story of your own; of what happened to you and what you did, or what you wish you had done, that could be the beginning of a conversation,” said Cathers, Director of Program & Volunteer Services at Child Abuse Prevention Services – CAPS.
The experts say you should teach your children that if they come to you, you will believe them and help them. It is a conversation that is as important to have with your daughters as with your sons.
Experts at the Bully Prevention Center in Roslyn said requests are now pouring in for sexual harassment training, which they provide starting in middle school.