By Joe Rector
I keep hearing from news outlets that we have just crossed into a new world, a new time. The revelations of sexual harassment by some famous men has our world spinning. At the risk of offending some people, I have a few thoughts on the subject.
To begin with, shame on the men who have taken advantage of women. I’m talking about such people as Harvey Weinstein, Louis C.K., Roy Moore, and Al Franken. These high profile men made advances at women that were at least misguided and at most disgusting.
All of their actions of harassment have been brought to light by the women whom they offended, but in some instances, the man has doubled down in his profession of innocence. They have thumbed their noses at such accusations with ridiculous attempts to turn victims into guilty parties.
Let’s hope that such convoluted acts to turn the tables don’t work. The simple fact is that the men who have attacked women or harassed them should be brought to the public spotlight. The first thing is to acknowledge their inappropriate actions. Next should come an apology. Last, if cases justify them, trials and penalties should come.
All assaults and harassment are bad. However, the degrees to which these things occur must be taken into account. In many cases, multiple women have come out to expose a single man, while in other instances, a single act has occurred. Should they be treated the same?
Something of which we all must be aware is that sometimes the pursuit for justice can lead to a feeding frenzy. How many more accusations will come flooding out? How many are true? How many are spawned by persons who hold vendettas or seek payment?
A few men have made life difficult for the rest of the male species. To be honest, most all of us are guilty of the same acts. As teenagers, we pushed as far as possible when we parked on dimly lit streets or sat on couches with our dates. The scenes looked more like a wrestling matches than times for a bit of innocent “making out.” Do those teenaged, hormone driven acts make us guilty of the same things as the men who are accused today?
What is the outcome of this new awareness of the inappropriate behaviors of some men? Are we going back to the days when a man had to ask permission before kissing or hugging or cuddling with a woman? If so, then men should be afraid of every encounter they have with women because at any time they might be accused of sexual harassment.
I, too, want a safe world where my wife and daughter don’t have to worry about being prey for jerks. At the same time, I want a world where relationships aren’t stilted because a man is scared to death hold a woman’s hand or put his arm around her. The answer for all of this lies in the middle; both sides have to use some common sense in dealing with each other. The other part of the answer comes with the warning that from this day forward sexual harassment or assault will not be tolerated at any time but will be prosecuted swiftly and harshly.