The number of people in the public eye being accused of, and who are apparently guilty of, sexual abuse and misconduct has become alarming. Some of them leaders we held in high esteem, some of them so called “personalities”. How can it be this has been covered up for so long? Let me suggest a couple of reasons.
First, and most apparent, many abused women are simply afraid. They need their jobs. They fear people will say, “She asked for it.” Realistically, some women might “ask for it” by their dress and behavior. But, too many are simply afraid. They are afraid of losing support of some kind, losing their jobs, and/or afraid of being humiliated. So, they tolerate it.
Second, people in positions of authority who are aware of sexual misconduct have been reluctant to deal with it. Whether you are Christian or not, find a Bible and read the first 11 verses of Chapter 8 from the Gospel according to John. Basically Jesus says, “If any of you is without sin, let him be first to throw a stone.”
Apparently there are too many “leaders” and “personalities” who are NOT without sin in our society right now. And, there is somewhat of a quid pro quo working: “You don’t tell on me, I won’t tell on you.”
Are there false allegations and blackmail? Undoubtedly! Another reason why some women are reluctant to step forward because they don’t want to be so accused. I expect there are opportunists who are willing to ruin a person’s life for economic gain or for notoriety, but that in no way diminishes our need to deal with the issue.
We have become a promiscuous society. Our society’s morality has been compromised. I think back to my college days when the “Playboy” revolution started. Hugh Hefner taught society that making women sex objects was okay and that hedonist desires and behavior were our right. We throw sex at everything. TV programing uses vile language, sexual content, and sexual innuendo. The internet has addicted far too many people to pornography.
We can try to blame Hefner and Playboy, society, the schools, TV programming, the internet, whatever, but really it boils down to one’s personal values and personal integrity.
Gentlemen: Beware. Are a few minutes of sexual pleasure, as great as it might be, worth the rest of your life in disarray? The rest of your life. If you think no one will ever know, you are wrong. You will be found out. Two people will always know and rarely can both keep quiet.
Too many lives have been ruined by sexual misconduct. Think about what is at risk for you, your partner, and your family.
Further, there must be a balance. It would be inappropriate to exclude fully qualified and productive, smart women from whom input is needed from business meetings, conferences, etc., simply because of fear. Use judgment. Avoid situations where either male or female might be vulnerable or feel threatened. Two is company, three is a crowd. Crowds are good, and, much safer for all.
Richard B. (Ben) Backus, Ed.D.
Peachtree City, Ga.