Bjorkman Says Sexual Harassment Corrodes Society, Calls for Gender Equity

Sexual harassment appears to be a cultural problem in Congress as well as in South Dakota’s Capitol. The Washington Post reports that Congress keeps sexual harassment suits against its members secret by forcing accusers to submit to counseling, mediation, non-disclosure agreements, and secret payments from the taxpayers, not from the harassers, and arrangement that even Fox News appears to find objectionable.

Democratic candidate for U.S. House Tim Bjorkman thus enters the discussion with this essay on the harms of sexual assault and other forms of abuse:

First official Bjorkman campaign photo: checked shirt, wood fence... ah, country living....
Tim Bjorkman

In the cases that came before me during my time as a judge, I witnessed, too many times to count, the damaging impact of violent and sexual offenses upon victims. The scars that abuse leaves behind on victims’ lives are devastating and they last for life. In fact, our prisons are populated with men and women who are survivors of childhood abuse, many struggling with addiction and underlying mental disorders. Over half the women and a sizable majority of men in prisons today were abused as children – either physically, sexually, or both.

Abuse in all its forms is highly corrosive to society; it is also a problem that, as a community, we have tolerated far too long. So let’s be frank: we have a problem across our culture with people in power and authority abusing others in ways that devastate lives and we must confront it. The conduct that has surfaced in Pierre is symptomatic of a state-wide and a nation-wide problem [Tim Bjorkman, Facebook post, 2017.11.11].

Bjorkman cheers the trend of victims coming forward and driving a discussion of sexual harassment and abuse. Bjorkman also reaches for some policy measures that could ease the gender power differentials that foster harassment and abuse:

While we’re at it, we should also strive to improve the lives of every woman by ensuring equal pay for equal work and protection from workplace and educational discrimination when pregnant. And we should support families by encouraging paid family leave, and seeing to it that all Americans, including children and their caregivers, have affordable healthcare. Finally we should ensure that all adults have access to contraceptives – including those who cannot afford them [Bjorkman, 2017.11.11].

Bjorkman also endorses the idea that we may reduce the abuse-promoting power differential by electing more women:

Ultimately, one way to address the problem of abuse and at the same time enact legislation that safeguards the rights of every person is to achieve more gender balance in government. There is encouraging news on that front: more and more women are stepping forward as candidates for the state Legislature. Having strong representation in government from both genders will strengthen the quality of our laws and play a pivotal role in creating a more conducive environment for good government [Bjorkman, 2017.11.11].

Wise guys on Team Krebs may take that comment as Bjorkman’s endorsement of his own GOP opponent. But Bjorkman here offers a more cogent and complete response to the discussion of sexual harassment in Pierre, in Washington, and throughout our culture than I’ve heard from either Krebs or fellow Republican candidate Dusty Johnson so far this grim fall.

16 Responses to Bjorkman Says Sexual Harassment Corrodes Society, Calls for Gender Equity

  1. bearcreekbat

    Recent studies offer substantial support for Bjorkman’s observations about sexual abuse and women in prison. As Cory Booker put it, we have “a survivor-of-sexual-trauma to prisoner pipeline.”

  2. This is great. How refreshing to have someone that not only can speak of what he witnessed as a judge, but also speaking intellectually and with detail – not just regurgitating sound bytes and what “sounds good” and what will sell. Great improvement, amazing improvement from what we have now representing us in the house of representatives.

    He describes in great detail, while connecting all the dots, of how sex assault, abuse, harassment is not only a horrible issue for the victim themselves, but how it impacts society whole.

    Go Bjorkman!

  3. oops…..impacts society as a whole. (apologies)

  4. marvin kammerer

    thank god,we have finally got a candidate who actually wants to talk about abuse of women & kids along with the abuse of power in this corrupt state !

  5. Shantel sez she wants to help trump; Dusty sez “I’m a republican; and Tim sez “I’m going to help the people of South Dakota, all of them.”
    Who would you vote for ??

  6. A judge with years of experience studying the law, the testimony of witnesses, and the life conditions of the defendants before him and turning that careful study into intelligent rulings could bring a level of articulacy to South Dakota’s Congressional delegation that we haven’t seen since Herseth Sandlin and Daschle.

  7. Bjorkman!

    It is a fun thing to holler, indeed. Bjorkman!

    I say, let us find what Mr. Bjorkman has done to combat the Law of Marsy or work on the courts deidcated to Veterans’ mental health issues. There are a lot of fellows out there, and I am not talking about Mr. Sibby or grudznick, who have deep mental health needs, and spending under Mr. Bjorkman’s watch for these people, especially for the ones registered as Democratic, has gone down. Why is that? Mr. Sibby and I want to know.

    Mr. Bjorkman certainly seems like a fairly swell fellow, but there are many questions yet to be asked or answered.

  8. Roger Cornelius

    The only thing worse than reading Sibson, is admitting that you read Sibson.

  9. Indeed, Mr. C, sometimes the white majority culture does look down on a man who can’t “tough it out” on his own or criticize those who seek help, telling them that needing help is not “normal” male behavior. This, I theorize, is much of what is wrong with the subcultures in Rapid City.

    However, at least Mr. Sibby is trying to fix things.

  10. I think Sibby has a crush on Cory. He writes about him all the time.

  11. Only the last 7 bloggings, Ms. Jenny. That’s not all the time, but it is a lot of the time. Can you imagine the posters in Mr. Sibby’s bedroom? Farah, and Mr. H. That’s 200 pounds of combined gunhoism that keeps Mr. Sibby awake at night.

  12. Why is it that the moment grudznick comments, the entire tone of the argument diminishes ??

  13. Roger Cornelius

    Everyone of Sibson’s posts since April 5, 2017 has Cory’s name or Dakota Free Press in the headline.
    Hopefully Cory will delete all posts and references, including mine, from this thread.
    Grudz’s again distracts from the important topic at hand and has sullied an excellent post about Tim Bjorkman and his response to sexual abuse.

  14. Cory,I’m disturbed by Sibby’s obsession with you. That is downright creepy. Please be careful and I would even think about getting a restraining order against him. We have to start getting serious about mental illness in this country.

    Now on to Bjorkman. I don’t know much about him, but am impressed with his resume. It’s hard to get excited when the pubs have such a stranglehold in the State. Name recognition is going to be Bjorkman’s problem.

  15. [Stay on target, friends!]

    Bjorkman’s essay does not solve the problem, but it shows he is thinking and communicating seriously about the problem and connecting the problem with harms he’s seen in his own professional experience and with a variety of policies that could directly and indirectly mitigate the problem.

    Bjorkman posts plenty of “Look at me! Our campaign is busy! People like us!” photos, just like Krebs and Johnson do. But Bjorkman includes more of these social/policy position statements than his opponents do, showing that he’s more attentive to his statesmanly duty to use his platform to talk get people talking about real issues, not just about himself.

  16. Bob Newland

    Buckobear, it is because the sorry excuse for a typing finger which styles itself “grudznick” is a lonely coward with a sense of humor educated by the likes of Ted Klaudt and Roy Moore.