A Working Woman's Response to Sexual Harassment

by Jennifer Coburn

"Take Back Your Power: A Working Woman's Response to Sexual Harassment," by Jennifer Coburn. Cover painting, "Dreaming 3," by 
Anahid Aslanyan.

Severe sexual harassment by her supervisor in her first job after college drove Jennifer Coburn to fight back and win a legal settlement. She then interviewed a hundred other women to gather their stories of sexual harassment on a variety of jobs. She presents and analyzes her own experiences and those of the women she interviewed, emphasizing the strong and painful links between women's issues at the workplace and a woman's psyche.

"Finding women to interview for this book was depressingly simple," observes Coburn in her introduction. "I placed a small advertisement in the local newspaper and was immediately inundated with phone calls from sexually harassed women. Every person I mentioned my research to had a friend, cousin or colleague waiting to be interviewed... I met women from over a dozen ethnic backgrounds, ranging in age from 19 to 74 years. Some recalled sexual harassment from the World War ll era while others recollected events only hours old. I met women in their one-room apartments and their luxurious estates — sexual harassment knows no socio-economic boundaries."

Harassed women and low self esteem form a central theme and challenge of Take Back Your Power. "Voicing your self-esteem by championing your own cause sends a clear and unobstructed message to every corner of your being," observes Coburn. "Saying, 'I am important and I deserve to be treated with respect' should be easy. Yet many people suffocated by a lifetime of abuse do not express these thoughts."

Passivity in the face of harassment demoralizes women and low self esteem becomes entrenched. "If you know a woman who is being sexually harassed or has been in the past, reach out to her," urges Coburn. "Let her know that her silence is destructive not only to herself, but to other women as well. There is no nobility in tolerating pain..." As a victim of, and successful combatant against sexual harassment, Coburn brings keen insights into one of the most crucial and topical of women's issues. 141 pages, with index.

"Take Back Your Power is a comprehensive and empowering guide to addressing sexual harassment at the work place. Jennifer Coburn provides effective tools to confront and eliminate this widespread abuse of women." —Patricia Ireland, president, National Organization for Women (NOW)

"This is just what women need now: a step by step formula for handling sexual harassment. Thank you Jennifer Coburn for showing us how to take our power back." —Louise L. Hay, best-selling author of You Can Heal Your Life

"Empowering, practical, brutally honest, simplistically real and totally usable describe Coburn's handbook. The stories shared by the women add graphic emphasis to situations. Some are ironically humorous, many are angry, some are sadly resigned and all are believable." —NOW Times 

Jennifer Coburn, author of "Take Back Your Power: A Working Woman's Response to Sexual Harassment"

JENNIFER COBURN has worked as public affairs coordinator for Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside counties. She has authored many articles and opinion pieces on reproductive rights, women in politics, affirmative action, current events and human rights — as well as woman-centered novels, such as Reinventing Mona and Tales from the Crib.

Paperback • ISBN: 978-0-910383-13-4 •  $10.

ism press books • ISBN prefix: 978-0-910383-

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