It's important for the dance community to speak out about workplace harassment and inappropriate behavior. Thinkstock.

How Does "Innocent Until Proven Guilty" Factor into Sexual Harassment of Dancers?

I'm feeling very torn about the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. Everyone from a company director to teachers and dancers are being accused of sexual harassment and leaving their jobs in disgrace. What happened to the idea of being presumed innocent until proven guilty?

—Conflicted, New York, NY


I support the presumption of innocence. At the same time, it's important for the dance community to speak out about workplace harassment and inappropriate behavior when it happens.

Allegations of sexual misconduct require an independent investigation to reveal the truth. Anyone in a position of power has a responsibility to treat dancers with respect and follow the law. Those who have been harassed must also back up their claims of abuse as much as possible.

It takes guts to speak out, but doing so can help create a safer environment for all dancers. A set of workplace guidelines should hopefully lead to a positive change throughout the industry.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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July 2021