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Start the dialogue about harassment

Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization of

Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization of Women (NOW) NY, speaks as she joins others during a rally and news conference Friday, Oct. 13, 2017, near courthouses in lower Manhattan, as they demand accountability in a Harvey Weinstein sexual assault case that was before and ultimately dismissed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance in 2015. Credit: Craig Ruttle

Newsday’s Oct. 11 editorial, “Predators and their enablers,” is a good starting point for a long-overdue national conversation about sexual harassment. It’s not about politics; it’s not about race or social standing; it’s about power and control and how people treat each other.

For too long, in too many workplaces, incidents of sexual harassment have been swept under the rug, leaving its targets to feel helpless, disempowered and vulnerable.

Sexual harassment is a problem that has its antecedents in our schools. If we’re going to prevent it, the conversation needs to start with our children. We must be clear about acceptable behavior. Our children need to feel it’s safe to speak out and report sexual harassment, and to know that they will be heard.

My organization has been providing sexual harassment workshops in middle school classrooms for more than 20 years. We’ve started a dialogue with students that needs to continue at home, in boardrooms and workplaces, so that the next generation will see sexual harassment as the crime that it is.

Alane Fagin, Roslyn

Editor’s note: The writer is the executive director of Child Abuse Prevention Services, a nonprofit educational organization.