How Likely Is Someone To Sexually Harass Others? This Scale Determines

Psychologist John Pryor created a scale in the 1980s which can determine how likely a person is to sexually harass someone else.

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The stories of sexual assault and harassment that emerged last year seemed to touch every industry — Hollywood, hotels, restaurants, politics and news organizations, including this one. Many of those stories focused on what happened, but most didn’t or couldn’t get to the question of why: Why do some people, mainly men, sexually harass their colleagues?

Psychologist John Pryor has been thinking about this for more than three decades, and he has created a test in an effort to measure a person’s tendency to harass someone. It’s called the “Likelihood to Sexually Harass Scale.”

Pryor, who is a professor at Illinois State University, created the scale in the 1980s, a time when many researchers were looking at rape.

“There was a scale that was developed then to measure the likelihood that people would rape if they thought they could get away with it,” he says. “So that inspired me to think about sexual harassment.”

Pryor spoke with NPR’s Michel Martin about his research and his thoughts on the national conversation about harassment and the #MeToo movement.



Interview Highlights

On what the scale looks at and how he created it

Now, the “Likelihood to Sexually Harass Scale” focuses only on one kind of sexual harassment, something that researchers used to call sexual coercion – a quid pro quo situation where someone is offering a bribe or maybe threatening a punishment for sexual cooperation. So I designed the “Likelihood to Sexually Harass Scale” using some common stereotypes about men in power situations. So I asked college men to imagine that they had such a job, and one of the things that let me know I was on to something when I first started working on this was that there was a high level of consistency. Men who would say that they would perform this act in one situation were highly likely to say they would do it in another situation.

On his reaction to the #MeToo moment

I’m not surprised at all that many women across all different kinds of walks of life are coming forth to say this has happened to them, because we know that the majority of women have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Admitting that you are a target or a victim of sexual harassment is somewhat of a stigma, but when you start to see people coming forth in public, one of the things you start to do is remove some of the stigma. When women hear other women say, “Oh this happened to me,” they think, “Yeah, it happened to me” and they’re less likely to think that they’re going to be treated negatively for coming forth and saying it happened to them.

On if there are specific characteristics harassers share

There are a series of beliefs that people have about sexual harassment that represent kind of a psychological underpinning — basically justifications for the behavior. So beliefs like women asking for it or women making false complaints. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve been interviewed by who ask me,”What about the false complaints?” Well, there are not many false complaints. There are not many complaints period. We can reduce the willingness of men to engage in sexual coercive sexual harassment by inducing them to think long and hard about perspectives of women.

NPR’s Isabel Dobrin produced this story for the Web. Adhiti Bandlamudi, NPR Kroc Fellow, produced for it for radio.

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'Recy Taylor's Rape Still Haunts Us'

In a speech at the Golden Globes, Oprah Winfrey told the story of Recy Taylor’s violent rape by six white men in 1944. Taylor, pictured above, died last month at age 97. Her attackers were never prosecuted.

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Last week, Oprah Winfrey’s speech at the Golden Globes brought many in the audience to tears and to their feet. She was accepting an award for contributions to the world of entertainment, but the billionaire broadcaster and philanthropist decided to use her moment to tell the story of a far less celebrated woman: Recy Taylor.

“In 1944 Recy Taylor was a young wife and mother, she was just walking home from a church service she’d attended in Abbeville, Alabama, when she was abducted by six white men, raped and left blindfolded by the side of the road coming home from church,” Winfrey recounted on stage.

Later, a colleague reminded me that I had spoken with Taylor myself, with the help of historian Danielle McGuire, back in 2011. Taylor told me the story of that rape in her own words.

“They got me in the car and carried me straight through the woods,” she said. Afterward, they told her that if she told anyone they would kill her.

In her speech, Winfrey added another important element to the story.

“Her story was reported to the NAACP where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case, and together they sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never prosecuted,” Winfrey said.

In 2011, I asked Taylor how that felt — never getting justice.

“They didn’t try to do nothing about it. I just get upset because I do my best to be nice to people, because I don’t want people to mistreat me and do me any kind of way,” she said.

Let me add a few more details that Winfrey did not have time to tell, such as how the local sheriff knew who had kidnapped Taylor but never arrested them. Or that one of the seven accomplices admitted he was there, but claimed he was just a bystander. Or the fact that eventually four of the accomplices admitted what they had done but claimed the rape was — wait for it — consensual.

There is also the way that some of the major Southern newspapers at the time all but ignored the crime against Taylor until national pressure forced their hands, or, just as evil, were complicit in passing along the false story that she was a prostitute or a willing participant.

Is it any wonder that when, after a campaign of local and national pressure finally led authorities to act, two all-white male grand juries refused to hold anyone accountable?

Taylor’s story haunts us — in part because of how she carried her pain with a strength we could still hear in her voice, but also because it is the story of many women whose names we will never know. But we know her name because she would not be kept silent. And also because another woman, Rosa Parks, along with many men, amplified her voice.

Can I just tell you, Taylor’s story also haunts us because it is the story of many others, a few of whose names we now know and many we do not. It is the story of the men who raped her and the community and the country who raised them and shaped them.

I wonder about those young men. Did they hold doors open for their white mothers and sisters? Did they call them “ma’am” and “sister?” Did they marry and have daughters and dance at their weddings and worry about them when they came home late? I bet they did. I bet they had friends and jobs and people who spoke nice words about them at their funerals. Made excuses. Said everybody did it. It’s how we were raised. It’s just what we thought. We didn’t know it was wrong.

But they did know. At their core they had to know, because they, like Taylor, were human beings. And in treating Taylor as less than human, in refusing to recognize her as human, they left a piece of themselves on the floor of those woods where they attacked her. I would venture to say that all those who dehumanize others for the sake of their own pleasure or to protect their own power leave a piece of themselves behind as well.

To my knowledge, Taylor, who died last month just a few days shy of her 98th birthday, outlived her attackers. She died with her humanity intact. How many others will be able to say the same?

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On The Hunt For Poppies In Mexico — America's Biggest Heroin Supplier

A Mexican soldier piles poppies for incineration near the town of Tlacotepec, in Guerrero state, Mexico. The army says it slashes and burns poppy when fields are too difficult to access by helicopter or when they want to protect fruits and vegetables growing nearby.

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The mountains looming ahead are legendary in Mexico.

“Whether it was Morelos or Zapata, any figure in Mexican history who needed to escape authorities came here to the mountains of Guerrero,” says Lt. Col. Juan Jose Orzua Padilla, the Mexican army spokesman in this region.

Today, it’s not revolutionaries skulking through this formidable southern section of the Sierra Madre mountains — it’s heroin traffickers.

Guerrero, Mexico is located in the southwest region of Mexico.

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Mexico’s southwestern Guerrero state is now the top source of heroin for the American drug epidemic, which resulted in more than 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, mostly from heroin or other opioids. The Drug Enforcement Administration says 93 percent of heroin analyzed by the agency in 2015 came from Mexico, more than double the amount from five years before.

The Mexican army gave NPR reporters a firsthand look at its efforts to eradicate poppy — the flowering plant that’s a raw material for making heroin.

Mexico has the third largest area under poppy cultivation in the world, after Afghanistan and Myanmar, according to a 2017 United Nations report based on estimates from 2015. By 2016, Mexican poppy cultivation had potentially grown more than three times the national amount estimated in 2013, according to the DEA.

“You get up into the mountains and look around the hillsides and there are poppy fields everywhere,” says Orzua from an army pickup rumbling over winding dirt roads.

Guerrero is a heroin hub not only because its mountains are inaccessible. But also, Orzua explains that the high elevations catching warm, humid air from the Pacific coast are ideal for growing high-quality poppy.

The poppy plants — which bloom beautiful, deep-red flowers just before harvest — have changed with agricultural enhancements over the last few years, says Orzua.They are now shorter and each plant can carry up to 10 bulbs from which opium paste is extracted. Harvest time is now as many as three times a year, instead of two previously. Poppy fields are both more productive and more potent in Guerrero.

“But this is nothing to be proud of,” he adds solemnly.

Soon, a few poppy fields spread before the army convoy. The red flowers stick out next to a dead corn field at one end, peach and mango trees at the other.

“This is just a distraction field,” Orzua says. It’s meant to occupy soldiers with destroying less productive fields instead of the best producers, higher up in the mountains. But they’re here and have orders to destroy all poppy they come across.

Isai Bello grew up in the U.S. states of Nevada and California and later lived in South Carolina. When he moved back to his family’s home state of Guerrero, Mexico, joining the military was the best way to make a clean living, he says. He earns about $30 per day eradicating poppies for the army.

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A handful of troops begin reconnaissance in the area, tiptoeing among the poppies, rifles at the ready. As the heroin business has boomed, driven by strong demand in the U.S., Guerrero has consistently been one of Mexico’s most violent states. The U.S. State Department listed it as a “Do Not Travel” zone in its recent travel advisory.

At least 15 cartels operate in these mountains, using brutal tactics to get a slice of trade.

But in these fields, the only other person in sight is a farmer up the hill tending to his mango trees. The nearest town is 30 minutes down a winding dirt road.

The poppy field has recently been tapped: The bulbs bear horizontal slices made by harvesters. Sticky white liquid seeps out of the incisions. After solidifying and oxidizing for a few hours, it’s scraped off. That opium paste then gets trucked by cartels to their hidden mountain labs where it’s processed into heroin.

The soldiers here — all men in their late teens or early 20s, mostly locals from Guerrero — throw their automatic rifles behind their back and pull out machetes. They hack away at the poppy and pile it into a giant pyre.

Fumigation is the top method for the army’s poppy elimination. In this little valley, however, the soldiers are killing off the plants by hand, rather than spraying harsh chemicals. Orzua says they don’t want to ruin the fruits and vegetables local farmers eat to survive.

At the top of the heroin supply chain are largely poor farmers hoping to sell opium paste to cartels. This 2-acre poppy plot could earn a farmer roughly $750 per harvest, half that in a bad year. The best farmers can harvest three times each year. But once it’s processed into heroin, its price multiplies and will yield tens of thousands of dollars in the U.S.

“The farmers are the ones who get exploited most. But if they aren’t offered a better alternative, they’ll just keep returning to poppy,” Orzua says. “I’m not justifying it, I just understand their needs.”

In Guerrero state, where the formaleconomy is shrinking and jobs are disappearing, eradicating poppy was the best legal job going, says Isai Bello, a 22-year-old soldier who recently returned to Mexico from the U.S.

“When I was in South Carolina I could make $80 a day. The army pays about $30 a day but it’s the most you can make at a job around here,” he says.

Bello grew up undocumented in California and Nevada and finished three years of high school there. But when his dad was arrested on drug charges, his mom decided to bring their family back to Mexico. He’s now part of this 28-man unit patrolling and eradicating poppy in their 4-square-mile area of the Sierra Madre.

As smoke from the destroyed poppies continues to rise, the unit returns to Camp Badillo, their small base on an adjacent ridge, several bright green and red poppy fields visible in the distance.

The Mexican army mostly destroys poppy fields via helicopter fumigation with a chemical called Uproquat. But it’s difficult in these lush mountains: an army helicopter pilot died in an accident in November. When helicopter fumigation isn’t possible, this is how the Mexican army is destroying poppy: small units operating out of rudimentary camps. Hundreds of these units deploy for one to two months at a time, live in tents, cook over a fire, and spend daylight searching for and destroying poppy fields.

“We take the toughest and most resilient soldiers because this is a difficult deployment,” says 2nd Lt. Pedro Badillo Alvarez, the unit’s commander and namesake of his little camp. “We can travel up to 10 kilometers on foot each day and destroy up to 200 plots of poppy each month.”

The Mexican army destroyed nearly 200,000 plots of poppy in 2017, up 22 percent from the previous year when the DEA accused the Mexican government of not doing enough to eradicate crops. In the first few weeks of 2018, Lt. Col. Orzua says they’re on pace to increase eradication even faster.

But as eradication ramps up, there’s doubt the effort will make an impact. It hasn’t yet.

“It is not possible to do a good job [in Guerrero],” says Raul Benitez, a security expert at Mexico’s Autonomous National University. “They are failing because of the conditions in the mountains and because drug traffickers totally control the local people and corrupt local politicians.”

Drug eradication as a concept may not even be sound, says Deborah Bonello, senior investigator for InSight Crime, a nonprofit research group studying organized crime in the Americas.

“The whole point of eradication is that it’s supposed to bring up the street prices of drugs with supply and demand principles,” she says. “But the farmers aren’t financed by the cartels. The costs of eradication are absorbed by farmers.”

If one farmer’s field is eradicated, that doesn’t necessarily hit the cartels’ coffers. The organized crime gangs just buy from another farmer.

“If you look at something like Plan Colombia [a U.S.-backed anti-drug trafficking plan launched in 2000], the U.S. government has funded billions and billions into eradication and in 2016 we saw more coca being produced in Colombia than ever before,” Bonello adds.

“In Mexico, there haven’t even been really genuinely successful efforts in terms of offering alternatives [to poppy farming],” Bonello goes on to say.

Since 2008, the U.S. has designated $2.5 billion to fund Mexico’s fight against organized crime in a plan called the Merida Initiative. While the U.S. has also offered to support and finance Mexican efforts to eradicate poppy, a 2017 U.S. government analysis of the initiative revealed significant gaps.

“Drug eradication and alternative development programs have not been a focus of the Merida Initiative even though Mexico is a major producer of opium poppy,” reads the report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Services.

It’s clear in Mexico and other leading drug-producing countries like Colombia that, without better alternatives, ordinary farmers continually fall into the risky business of selling to narco-trafficking cartels, even as the army crawls through the hills to eradicate crops.

“We know eradication is just one piece of the solution,” admits Lt Col. Orzua. “We need to all work together in economic development, education, and many other issues to solve the problem of drug trafficking here.”

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As DREAMers Begin Renewing Permits Again, Trump Tweets 'DACA Is Probably Dead'

President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that Democrats don’t really want DACA and they want to “take desperately needed money away from our Military.”

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Hours after the U.S. government announced it would again begin processing applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals due to a federal court order, President Trump claimed in a tweet that the program, which has granted a temporary legal reprieve to people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children, was “likely dead.”

The furor Trump ignited with his reported use of a vulgarity about African nations in a meeting with lawmakers last week about DACA consumed the Sunday talk shows just days before the federal government is due to shut down absent a fresh congressional spending bill.

Trump sought to focus the blame for any lack of progress on DACA on Democrats, tweeting: “DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.”

DACA is probably dead because the Democrats don’t really want it, they just want to talk and take desperately needed money away from our Military.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2018

As NPR and other outlets reported last week, it was Trump who rejected a tentative agreement reached by a small, bipartisan group of senators that would have allowed DACA recipients permanent residency in the U.S. and a path to citizenship. During a meeting with the lawmakers, Trump reportedly called African nations “shithole countries” and questioned why the U.S. didn’t favor letting more immigrants in from nations like Norway instead of countries like Haiti.

Two of Trump’s congressional allies who were present at that meeting sought to push a different version of events during appearances on the Sunday talk shows.

On ABC’s “This Week” Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga, said Trump, “did not use that word,” and that multiple media accounts of the meeting were a “gross misrepresentation.” Perdue’s comments were a shift. In an interview on Friday, Perdue had said he didn’t remember the president using such langauge.

“I didn’t hear that word either,” said Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” with host John Dickerson.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced Saturday it would begin taking new applications from undocumented immigrants seeking to register for the DACA program.

In a statement, the agency said, “Until further notice, and unless otherwise provided in this guidance, the DACA policy will be operated on the terms in place before it was rescinded.”

President Trump ordered an end to the program in September and gave lawmakers until March of this year to come up with a legislative fix. Last week, a federal court in California issued a nationwide injunction blocking the Trump administration’s decision.

In another tweet Sunday, Trump said he wants people coming to the country “based on merit.” He said:

“I, as President, want people coming into our Country who are going to help us become strong and great again, people coming in through a system based on MERIT. No more Lotteries! #AMERICA FIRST”

A CBS News poll released Sunday found that 70 percent of Americans are in favor of DACA and even among Trump’s supporters, a slim majority also support the program.

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Plane Skids Off Runway In Turkey Onto Cliff Edge, No Injuries Reported

A Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 passenger plane is seen stuck in mud on an embankment, a day after skidding off the airstrip, after landing at Trabzon’s airport on the Black Sea coast on Jan. 14.

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Chaos and panic broke out aboard a Turkish plane that skidded off the runway, slid down the edge of a cliff and stopped just short of plunging into the Black Sea.

But despite the terrifying landing Saturday night, everyone on board, including 162 passengers and crew, safely evacuated the Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737-800 flying from Ankara to the coastal Turkish airport in Trabzon.

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Footage taken inside the plane moments after the accident appears to show panicked passengers trying to get out, while crew members offer instructions. A baby can be heard wailing in the background.

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The BBC says passenger Fatma Gordu described a chaotic scene.

“We tilted to the side, the front was down while the plane’s rear was up. There was panic; people shouting, screaming,” Gordu said.

In a statement, Pegasus Airlines explained the plane “had a runway excursion incident” as it landed, without delving into what caused the aircraft to careen off the tarmac and end up, clinging nose first down the cliff.

The Independentreports the only thing that prevented the Boeing 737-800 from plummeting into the water was that its wheels got stuck in the mud.

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Kaveh Akbar Is Poetry's Biggest Cheerleader

Kaveh Akbar — himself a poet — posts in-depth interview with his favorite poets every week on DiveDapper.

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Charles Bakofsky

Ever eavesdropped on two poets having a conversation at a coffee shop? Iranian-American poet Kaveh Akbar has created an online space that lets you do that without leaving your bed.

Akbar runs DiveDapper, which focuses on interviews with major voices in contemporary poetry. It’s packed with profiles of writers like Morgan Parker, Ocean Vuong, Wendy Xu, and Max Ritvo — to name just a few. Every other Monday, he posts a new interview transcript.

The site grew out of Akbar’s own life in poetry, and his struggles with addiction. “The oldest recognizable poem in my book ranges back to when I got sober,” Akbar says; his debut collection, Calling a Wolf a Wolf, came out this past September. “I suddenly had 16 hours a day to fill with something new. My entire life up to that point was predicated on the pursuit of this or that narcotic experience. When that was uplifted, I had to find something else.”

Writing became his path out of that old life. “I was so hungry to be having conversations about the poetry that was exciting me, so starved for that sort of dialogue” as he worked towards an MFA and split 60 hours a week between different jobs all while beginning his recovery. “DiveDapper became a way for me to manufacture those dialogues directly with the sources.”

When Akbar started out, he says, he was worried that if he cold-called someone like the Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sharon Olds, she’d be rightfully confused. Now, DiveDapper has become the way Akbar approaches great poets — but what he didn’t expect was that the interviews would turn into real, substantial friendships.

francine j harris is one of my best friends in the world now, but we met because of DiveDapper, as she started out and still is just one of my favorite poets in the world,” Akbar says. Or take this snippet of his conversation with Olds:

Akbar: “… since I was two years old, I’ve been spoken to with this consciously elevated vernacular. I went through a period of being deeply self-conscious about it because I didn’t want people to think I was being showy. And to make matters worse, all I’ve ever wanted to do is read, not unlike what you’re talking about with Shakespeare. And so this is a low-level anxiety at any point in my life when I’m in conversation with anyone.

Olds: Right. Now did your being born in Iran have anything to do with [your mother] wanting to help you with SAT vocabulary in English?

Akbar: Oh, that’s interesting. My mom is American and my dad’s Iranian. I basically spent two years in Iran speaking Farsi and kind of being spoken to in English, but when we moved to America we spoke exclusively English in the house because they were dead-set on Americanizing me.

Olds: Right.

Akbar: I haven’t talked to my mom much about it, but that might’ve been part of it. I think it was mainly to give me an academic advantage.

Olds: Sure. If I had thought of that, I might have done it too! That’s sweet and probably kind of maddening. But oh my, parents — we just want so much to do whatever we can.”

Most of the interviews on DiveDapper really are this earnest and conversational. What’s more, they give us readers the chance to get to know Akbar as well as the poets he’s talking to. Akbar jokes that if you’ve read a dozen DiveDapper interviews, you’ve spent an hour with a dozen different poets — and you’ve actually spent 12 hours with him too.

Indeed, in 2016, when I first heard Akbar reciting poems from his chapbook Portrait of the Alcoholic at a reading in Seattle, I had no idea that he was also working on DiveDapper. Nor did I know that he workshopped poems with high-school students, or that in the time between performing at book tours, readings and teaching, he’d started thinking about things like silence and how to bring it back into his life and poems. Through DiveDapper, budding poets like me get further insight not only into the process of these major voices in poetry, but also Akbar’s own process.

“There are a lot of interviews where I’ve really gotten into the weeds of my own life,” Akbar explains. “A profound and beautiful and strange intimacy now exists between me and the people who have spent time on the site.”

And based on the interviews, here’s what I know about Kaveh Akbar: He believes that everyone should be reciting poems as they walk into a coffee shop, as they do the dishes, as they go on with their lives.

“The fact that poems exist is the low-bearing gratitude upon which I have built my life,” he explains. “And what do you do with gratitude when it piles up? You have to push it outwards.”

He says it’s sort of like eating a Snickers bar. “Not sharing your gratitude is like holding a Snickers bar in your mouth for a week. You’d just get cavities,” he laughs. “This is what I want to do with DiveDapper. As far as I’m concerned, poetry is the best thing that exists in the universe.”

“These are the people whose words have shaped my psychic algorithm,” he says of his interviewees. “Their language has shaped the way I think about the world. They’re part of my consciousness at the level of the neuron. To hear how they did it, how they do it, has been immensely useful to me as a practicing poet and as a human being. To learn how to live my life in joyous grateful service of poetry — that’s everything.”

Jeevika Verma is a poet and writer from India.

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