When you are replaceable and he will never be

A sexual harasser can do untold damage to woman’s self-esteem, forcing her to leave her job or even her profession. But that’s not the only pernicious outcome: She might tolerate the sexual harasser because at least he has been nice to her or taken an interest in her career. His offenses may seem minor amid the other frustrations that she suspects might have something to do with sexism but can’t ever be sure of, like the boss who’s casually dismissive of her every idea, or the mentor who feels he must tear her apart to bring out her true genius…

When a young woman is in a workplace where she feels replaceable, it is particularly dangerous for her to work with someone who is treated as utterly irreplaceable. Politics, like the arts, is full of men like this — so powerful that they become both synonymous with institutions and above them. In that kind of environment, it is not surprising that a man might feel entitled to take advantage, and a woman might feel there’s no recourse.

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