By: Joe Mauricio
There is something in the air, or rather in how we raise and school our children, and how we reward and punish men and women – that gives many men a sense of permission to objectify abuse and exploit women and also other men, sexually and otherwise..
We have a Hollywood problem, to be sure, but just as much as grassroots American problem. If for a long time, men like Hollywood movie director Harry Weinstein TV Host Bill Cosby thought they could get away with their abhorrent behavior, it is because they really could.
We are saying nothing new here. Women rights advocates have been saying as much for generations. The “me too” campaign, though, is creating a new label of awareness about the problem of male entitlement.
The public is being schooled in greater appreciation of how sexual harassment plays out subtly and blatantly—in the workplace and elsewhere.
Among the uglier spectacles of recent days has been the defensive argument that a cultural coup is being acted by feminists, with men as victims. In this grotesquely warped analysis, the engine of scandal is a misunderstanding male politicians with outmoded social habits are being tested again vague standard of behavior and pursued for actions where caulpability is mysterious, subjective, and politically motivated. This is a dishonest nonsense.
The differences between flirtation, professional interaction and harassment are vast and easy to comprehend to anyone who respects co-workers as a fellow human being. So, too, is the distinction between consent and absence. These lines have never been burred except in the minds of men who wanted them to be blurred in the past, and regret that the focus is sharpening now.
The structure of politics brings a particular dimension to the problem, but the problem itself is far from particulars to politics.
Researchers have found endemic sexual harassment in American workplaces. More than half of women surveyed said that they had experienced some kind of unwanted, inappropriate behavior from some men they worked with.
Sexual harassment—unwanted behavior of a sexual kind violates a person’s dignity. And unwanted touching can constitute sexual assault in law, details that certain politician who belittle roving hand or lasciviousness lunge some minors or working interns should be in mind.
No industry or profession is immune. Nor can any political party. These are men who will abuse their power on staff, interns or other underlings, even co-equals in positions, in workplaces.
The impulse to cover up, to protect allies, and to deflect criticisms with partisan counter-allegations is all common in all parties.
There is a danger now that the focus on holding perpetrators to account and putting effective protections in place is lost amid tribal (male dominated) political combat and score settling.
Congress’ uniqueness lies not in that application, but in possessing the power to lead by example and be a beacon of change for America.