Another day, another sexual harassment allegation. I can tell you this, I sure wouldn’t want to be someone who went around being a giant creep back in the day and I definitely wouldn’t want to be a current creep. Seems both women and men are done sweeping secrets under the rug and are revealing individuals who have sexually assaulted them or acted inappropriately toward them. Seems some folks are fed up. Ever since Weinstein’s behavior was exposed (thank God), individuals have been given the strength to call out men who have sexually assaulted or harassed them in an effort to end years of unacceptable behavior in the entertainment industry. Just recently, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Spacey, former President Bush, Ben Affleck, Dustin Hoffman and director Brett Ratner have been added to the list of dudes who have acted inappropriately toward their peers. As much as I wish that was the end of the list, I have a feeling it’s just the tip of the iceberg.
There are so many issues here–so many factors that need attention. Let’s start with the textbook apology. Didn’t they teach public relations experts who specialize in crisis management anything other than, “I have the utmost respect for women” when issuing a mea culpa for their clients. No, actually the lie detector determined that this is a lie and it appears your client does not have the utmost respect for women. There’s that old saying that actions speak louder than words and grabbing a woman’s breasts or butt speaks volumes about how much you actually “respect” a woman and her body. Now, I would like to focus on another apology. This one comes by way of former President Bush who has been accused of grabbing women from behind while taking photos.
“At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures. To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and, on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”
“To try to put people at ease…..on occasion, he has patted women’s rears.” I’m sorry? So, I should feel less anxious when patted on my rear end by a dirty old man? Wheelchair or no wheelchair, an ass grab is an ass grab. And, I don’t care if he’s 93 or 193, I would break his old, brittle finger bones with my very strong handshake that I use to make people feel…..more at ease. They should have left it at, “To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely”. None of that boohoo-he’s-in-a-wheelchair-bullshit and tales of his joke telling abilities. Perhaps people should get real and own it. Issue an apology for the individuals so that they may actually forgive you, you know, like what an apology is truly meant to do – gain forgiveness. And then lead by example. Teach those around you to treat women properly and encourage women around you to speak up if something happens when it happens.
The next issue I can’t help but bring up – the masturbation attacks. Let me get this straight, to accomplish this assault you have the victim sent up to your room or office and then upon arrival you furiously jerk off in front of them and then just squirt it all over the place? I cannot get over that people actually do this. How do you go about the rest of your day after engaging in that type of behavior? How?! I was driving on The Stevenson once and, just as I was about to make my exit, a young man in a pick-up truck drove up right next to me and, for the life of me, I still can not sort out how he had positioned his hips and crotch high enough to show me that he was nude from the waist down, masturbating AND driving his car at the same time. Like, go find a partner and do some role playing or something. And, if you find that you can only get off by surprise masturbation attacks, go see a therapist. You have a problem.
I can vividly remember three different men who tried to force themselves onto me in my twenties and, if I hadn’t slapped/punched them and then pushed them off of me, I very well may forced to do something I was too scared to say no to. I could have woken up feeling terrible about myself, he on the other hand, feeling great. I never said anything about it because I was young and I was naive. I just kind of dealt with it as I assumed that was just part of life. But, and this is a big but, I should have never been put in the position to have needed to say something or slap someone. If you have to use force to get a person somewhere dark and alone or try to pull her pants off while she’s trying everything in her might to hold them up, it’s highly likely she doesn’t want to have sex with you. It’s not sexy or charming or a turn on, it’s fucking scary and you’re forever thought of as a huge creep. Well done.
The only way this bullshit will ever slow down or end is by speaking up and thru education. We need to get it in the brains of girls when they are young to tell someone if, or more likely when, something happens. Not to stay quiet. I had a perv basketball coach in grammar school and I still think that had I told on him for having another player pull down my shorts in front of him, he’d be out of a job coaching young girls and hopefully not giving dollars out to players who accept his dare of “de-pantsing” their teammates. Why didn’t I tell then? Because I was embarrassed. And because he was suppose to be a representation of someone I could go to if something like that ever did happen – he wasn’t supposed to make it happen. They don’t talk to girls about sexual harassment in schools, at least they didn’t when I was in grammar school and high school. Perhaps times have changed? It’s a discussion that should be had each year. This is what is unacceptable and this is who you go to if something happens. Creating a safe space for conversation will make victims feel less at fault and more willing to seek help. And, in conjunction with giving girls some girl power, it will give the boys and young men the knowledge on how to properly treat their female peers. Not to mention, boys are not immune to sexual predators. They need the support just as much. Both genders would gain invaluable tools from this type of education that would serve them for the rest of their lives and would be passed down to generations to follow.
Here’s hoping that the more we use our voice, the more we put our foot down and say it’s unacceptable, the less names attached with allegations we will hear on a daily basis.
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