Special delivery: Sexual harassment stork!

A Russian judge explains where babies come from.

Published August 6, 2008 8:40PM (EDT)

A 22-year-old Russian woman recently sued her 47-year-old boss for sexual harassment after her refusal to have sex with him allegedly got her locked out of the office. The Telegraph reports that she told the court: "He always demanded that female workers signalled to him with their eyes that they desperately wanted to be laid on the boardroom table as soon as he gave the word. I didn't realise at first that he wasn't speaking metaphorically." Charming. Her suit, however, was tossed out -- but not for lack of evidence. The judge simply decreed: "If we had no sexual harassment we would have no children."

Huh. I'm guessing the judge's logic is that sexual harassment drives women out of the office and into the home, where they can fulfill their true calling as baby incubators. Or maybe the judge is revising the playground theory of seduction for adults: Women are most likely to swoon after being teased, threatened and humiliated -- and what better place for that than the office! If that's his thinking, Reality Base's Melissa Lafsky suggests reviewing Russia's "sky-high" abortion rate and considering that if "a boss impregnates his secretary, either through semi-consensual sex as a result of harassment or from full-on rape, the odds are pretty high that the pregnancy will be unwanted, making the woman more likely to abort."

Not only is the judge's theory sexist, it's just plain wrong. A recent survey found 100 percent -- no kidding -- of Russia's working women were sexually harassed by their bosses; 32 percent reported having sex with their harasser and 7 percent said their boss raped them. So if under-the-table knee squeezes and cornering women by the water cooler were such successful reproductive strategies, as the judge suggests, Russia should be experiencing an overpopulation problem.

Why, then, is the country facing a critical population decline and plummeting birthrate?

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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