Misbehaving men, Children In Need and other topics

August 09, 2006|by BOB MAGINNIS

Odds and ends from a columnist's notebook:

It doesn't seem appropriate to call this a contest, but I would like to hear from women readers on the topic of sexual harassment.

I have two questions:

· Have you ever been sexually harassed?

· What, if anything, did you do about it?

I think it is an important topic for discussion, because just as domestic violence was not spoken about openly 30 years ago, I believe sexual harassment is a taboo topic for many people, for some of the same reasons.

There is the shock of a colleague's unwanted behavior and the tension involved in deciding whether to make an official complaint about behavior that few might have witnessed.


Just as some battered women have told me they don't want their abuser to go to jail, but do want the abuse to end, I imagine that some victims of harassment would just like the unwanted behavior to stop.

I say "I imagine," because I don't know. As a student working in restaurants, I saw waitresses harassed, pawed by men who should have known better, but decided after a few drinks that it was OK. I doubt I saw it all.

If you choose to respond, all names will be kept confidential and responses could be edited if not doing would single out someone who hasn't been charged with any offense.

Why ask these questions? Because if some men see themselves in your descriptions of their bad behavior, they might think twice before doing it again.

Maybe that's wishful thinking, but it wasn't too long ago that some men didn't think twice about telling their buddies that they'd just "smacked the old lady around." Now, if they haven't stopped abusing, most have at least stopped bragging about it.

Send e-mails to or by regular mail to Bob Maginnis, Editorial Page Editor, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, MD 21741.

Please respond by Wednesday, Aug. 23. If you don't want your reply published, please indicate that in your letter.

With the start of school fast approaching, the volunteers who run Hagerstown's Children In Need organization report that there is a shortage of clothes for young boys.

Years ago, when this program was run by the school system and my service club was asked to commit $1,500, I decided to go to out on distribution day, then held at Kmart, to see if those getting donations were truly needy.

I found it hard to believe that in a country where many people have more clothes than they can possibly wear, that some people could have so little.

Sure, clothes are cheap and plentiful at yard sales, but what if you don't have a car? What if your choice is between putting food on the table and buying clothes?

Children In Need is located at 131 W. North Ave., in the rear of the Martin Luther King Center.

It's an all-volunteer group, so it's only open to receive donations on Fridays, from 9 to 11 a.m.

So if you've got an armload of boys' clothes, you have two choices: Hold a yard sale, sit out in the sun all day long and hope someone buys them or just give them to Children In Need, where you can be sure they'll be appreciated.

If I were a candidate for office in Washington County, particularly a first-time candidate, I would write a letter to the editor telling people why they should vote for me. I'm surprised that few candidates have done that so far, given that there is no charge for publishing letters.

A word to the wise: Maryland's primary is Tuesday, Sept. 12, and The Herald-Mail only has so much space available. Get letters in early to make sure they run and help us, if you can, by e-mailing them, so we don't have to type them into the system. Thanks.

The Shiloh United Methodist Church spaghetti feed and silent auction held this past Saturday raised more than $2,000 for the family of Alivia Koontz, a Hagerstown-area toddler with a rare heart defect.

Alivia had her third major surgery Tuesday. The early word is things look good. As soon as I hear anything else, I'll share it.

Bob Maginnis is Opinion Page editor of The Herald-Mail.

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