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Reader Opinion: A good first step

I was pleased to read the Nov. 22 Dispatch article about how the Lakes Area Pregnancy Support Center (LAPS) is supporting the efforts of the #MeToo national movement. The LAPS project is an important piece in the goal of reducing and eliminating sexual harassment. However, I can't help but think the conversation needs to go both deeper and broader if positive change is to occur.

If we look deeper, does the root cause of sexual harassment have to with gender socialization and power in relationships? If too many children are still learning that being male means it is okay to use their sexuality to dominate females, that seems like a seed bed for future sexual harassment.

Let's have broader and deeper conversations—in families, among friends, at work, in school settings and faith communities—about the interplay of gender and power. Let's ask what values and behaviors are presently being learned by our children, what do we want them to learn, and how can we best teach these values and behaviors?

Positive behaviors can and will occur when we examine and intentionally change our cultural expectations around gender and power.

Lowell Johnson

Fort Ripley

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