So, What Now?

I have mulled over this topic  for the past couple of weeks,  as one man (and  few women) after another has lost his job, credibility, and respect with accusations and admissions of sexual harassment and assault.  My first thought through all this has been “They are really lucky I am not their mother!!!!”

My husband used to assess low and moderate risk convicted sex offenders, usually those who had committed crimes against children,  for their suitability for treatment. We know from research that the sooner those folks are integrated back in the community and have jobs and stability,  along with ongoing therapy and careful monitoring by their probation officers, the less likely they are to re-offend.

What do we do now with the Al Frankens, Roy Moores,  and John Conyers  of this country?  How do we heal, and promote inclusivity for all our citizens? I wonder if the model of Truth and Reconciliation, used in South Africa after the end of Apartheid has relevance here.  I believe that in that circumstance people admitted their wrong doing, faced their victims, and engaged in meaningful acknowledgement of the damage their actions had caused. Then they ceased engaging in the behavior that was so harmful and wrong.  People could move ahead.

So, what do you think we should do now?

43 thoughts on “So, What Now?”

  1. Wow – big question for the weekend. I’ve been thinking about this a lot – in fact, Nonny and I talked about this yesterday over lunch. I’m appalled at how as a culture we have completely sexualized women. Every way you turn, it’s apparent. Dallas cheerleaders, cosmetics, music videos. Even on the weather channel – yesterday morning the male commentator had on khakis, shirt open at the collar and rolled up sleeves. The female commentators had on short, very form fitting dresses along with spiky high heels. Hmmmm. We have a very high standard for how women “should look”.

    Maybe we should all wear rubber bands around our wrists and every time we catch ourselves judging a woman by her looks but not the man standing next to her, we should give ourselves a nasty snap. I don’t really mean this literally but if we could recognize some of these thoughts in ourselves, we can tamp them down. A start?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I was thinking the same thing, especially about the sexualization of our culture. I wonder what would happen if the emphasis in advertising and the media was on kindness and respect?

      Like

      1. I think advertising and, to a great extent, the media reflects the culture rather than defining it. Remember, this is a society that couldn’t ultimately pass something as basic as the ERA amendment, a culture where many of the traditional religious denominations still embed an unequal regard for women.

        The current backlash to sexist abuse is awkward and extreme and I do think that due process would be preferable where the accused desires due process, but I think it’s a step we have to go through in order to reach a more satisfactory equilibrium, where it’s understood that power, authority or wealth does not confer sexual privilege.

        Nora McInerny had an interesting spat with Garrison Keillor recently. Be sure to follow the link to her posting in Time.com.

        https://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2017/12/keillor-in-online-generational-spat/

        Like

  2. I was trying to think of a way to approach this topic, Renee – thanks for this and the thoughtful question. We’ve been out of balance in this culture for a very long time, and I imagine you’d have to go back a long way to find the roots of the “sexualization” of women (and sometimes men in different ways). Other cultures have outright sexual oppression – we traded that for something more subtle, but insidious.

    I wish there could be something like the Truth & Reconciliation idea. I think we don’t know how to react to all of this, and that too will be unbalanced for a long time, with people like Franken and Keillor being lumped together with people like Weinstein. If only the appearance of doing the right thing weren’t thrown in there too – as with MPR feeling they had to sever all ties with GK,.. What a mess.

    Like

      1. Thanks, BiR. VS – here is my RSVP. I won’t be coming. I’m way too sick – it would be no fun for me and no fun for anyone who might catch my germs.

        Like

        1. So sorry you aren’t well. Nonny and I are getting things going..been in the kitchen most of the day so far.

          Like

  3. I am not equal to this question, having no relevant experience. My first impression is that there are many kinds of sex crimes, with many different kinds of motivations for them. To my mind, many sex crimes are driven by physical drives that make it hard for me to understand how they can be treated. I have admired the model of the reconciliation program in South Africa,and yet the crimes involved seem quite different from sex crimes to me.

    Like

    1. I think it’s important to add that South African society didn’t change—to whatever degree it has changed—because of the truth and reconciliation program. That was only possible because the change had already taken place. By and large, the culture doesn’t change because you pass a law or institute a formal procedure. Things in the culture change when the old way becomes socially unacceptable.

      Like

      1. Yes, Bill, and yet I believe passing some legislation promotes change as well as reflecting it. Take, for example, the Civil Rights Act of 1964. At the time people who opposed it kept saying, “You can’t legislate love.” But the act did, I think, both recognize change and make more change possible. If nothing else, it stands as a signpost marking social progress.

        Like

        1. The Civil Rights Act passed, obviously, because there was widespread enough support to do so; enough of the citizenry was ready. The legislation follows the social change, it doesn’t inspire it. Do you really think that comparable equality legislation could ever pass in this congressional and social climate? I don’t. Not yet.

          Like

        2. I’m not sure why we are disagreeing. Of course, passing the Civil Rights Act was possible only because the climate of opinion favored it. But then the act made it much easier for African-Americans to vote. One of many results of that is the recent election in Alabama.

          Like

        3. We don’t disagree, certainly not on the salubrious effects of civil rights legislation and the voting rights act. But women already vote and don’t face discrimination at the poll, so what remedy could be preemptorily produced by legislation? An equal rights amendment would be a step in the right direction but not a quick fix. And remember the last big push for the ERA was torpedoed in part by women—Phyllis Schlafly and her ilk. Are things any different now?

          Like

        4. After we’re done with this administration, they just might be. (This in response to Bill’s comment, just in case the comment doesn’t show up where I anticipate it will.)

          Like

    1. None of it is going to happen quickly. For those weak-minded and easily led individuals who take their cues from public figures, the demonstration that choices have consequences, even when you’re rich and a celebrity, may have a trickle-down effect. For the public figures themselves, the message that doing good in one sphere doesn’t counterbalance behaving badly in another may be corrective.

      There are still many elements of inequality that are not sufficiently controversial to elicit legislative action and those inequalities factor explicitly or implicitly into incidents of abuse. Asserting and accepting full equality will be a big first step on the road to making abusive behaviors untenable.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. “Off with their heads!” said the King. “Just their little heads, not the big ones on their necks.” **Facetiousness** 🙂

    Seriously, men are pigs, slime, one step above base animals. Isn’t there a famous study that found most men think about sex 50 or more times a day? And since most men are heterosexual, they think about sex with women. And unfortunately, humans instinctively crave sex (the whole preservation of the species thing).

    This implies that if a man crosses paths with a woman who is anywhere near childbearing age, he will think about having sex with her, at least subconsciously. I would hazard a guess that most of men’s thoughts about sex are conscious.

    The more “civilized” men among us manage to subdue those thoughts and urges, and we don’t act upon them in inappropriate situations (such as the workplace). But I’m not surprised that the male power elites are finally getting called out. Power implies privilege in our society. The most powerful think they are above laws as well as social customs. So you get the Harvey Weinsteins of the world.

    The solution? GET WOMEN INTO POWER. Until women are in the highest positions of power proportional to their population, nothing will change. Men have been running the world since individual humans got together in social groups for self-preservation reasons. It’s time for a change, but it has to come at every level of society, from world and national politics down to local school boards, small businesses, and family units.

    Until then, it’ll be business as usual with a few examples like the recent spate of lowlifes who’ve been fingered getting excoriated in the media and hopefully prosecuted to the full extent of the law for any crimes they are accused of.

    Chris in Owatonna
    (Who, so far, has been able to suppress his male “urges” and ego enough to not participate in the culture of sexual misbehavior. But it’s easier for me since I’m about as low on the “power totem pole” as one can get. 😉 )

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Frankly, I’m not convinced that it’s more rampant now than it has been for centuries, it’s just that we now talk more openly about it. Also, with women demanding and standing up for equal rights (at least most of us do), I think there’s less tolerance for unacceptable behavior.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. In times past it was not only acceptable but fully legal for men to take advantage of their power. Law has evolved. As we keep learning from the news many men still exploit their power, but I have to believe there is change for the good. I can remember when people shrugged and accepted drunk driving as an inevitable fact of life. Now people who do that are scorned (and jailed). Clearly, attitudes about exploiting women sexually are changing too.

          Liked by 3 people

  5. This is an ancient problem. First off, sex is not a problem. When the Creator instructed Adam and Eve to “fill the earth”, he likely gave them sex education. (I have a PG13 rated comedy riff on this). We are hardwired for sex. Consider that the first poetry came when Eve was brought to the post-surgical Adam and he broke out in poetry, “This is at last bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. This one will be called Woman, because from Man this one was taken.” (Genesis 2:23). All indications are that God wanted humans to enjoy sex. It’s that orgasm thingy.
    Then we have “The Fall”. Now things have changed. After eating from the forbidden tree, Adam blamed both God and Eve for the problem saying, “The woman whom YOU gave to be with me, SHE gave me the fruit from the tree so I ate!” Weeeeeeak! “It’s all YOUR fault! YOU should have given me a better gal!” From there, God made the prediction (NOT that He wanted things this way) that women would be dominated by men, (Genesis 3:16). So now instead of the woman being a “compliment” (Genesis 2:20) or “helper” to the man, she was essential enslaved to him. Such is the result of imperfection.
    Male-dominated societies became the norm. Such has continued to this day. But despite that, love between male and female prevails. Speaking as a male, I say without reservation that I appreciate the female form but have taken steps to curtail expressions of that appreciation to one female at a time. Going Biblical again, I have tried to apply Jesus’ words at Matthew 5: 27, 28, “You heard it was said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone that KEEPS ON LOOKING at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart,” I highlight the words “keeps on looking” to relate the difference being made between saying, “You look nice” and sexual harassment.
    Given all this, men are the most accountable. We have the power. Abuse of power is horrid. Thankfully most men have enough self-control to avoid it. Train boys to do that and they likely will grow up to respect women.

    Like

  6. I had a chance today to ask a young(ish) man who is student teaching how this has played out in his (rural MN) high school social studies classes. Unfortunately, when the subject came up of “why didn’t all these women come forward at the time these things happened, the Head Teacher’s comment was “Makes you wonder.” It’s going to take a lot more discussion and… what? training – as to what the heck is behind what’s happening.

    Like

  7. There is a program in Kenya called No Means No Worldwide. https://www.nomeansnoworldwide.org/ There are classes for both girls/young women and boys/young men. While the focus is on preventing rape, I wonder if this model could also be used to teach that respect of women also applies to situations where casual objectification/sexualization of women/girls is often the norm – not just violent situations.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’ve been listening to Chris Thile’s show, which is in repeats now, and from which there’s been a clumsy attempt to expurgate the words “Prairie” “Home” and “Companion” because, of course, we’ve determined those words are morally harmful. So now there are edits naming the show “Live From Here”, but then during the credits Tim Russell says “Thanks to our Prairie Home staff…” so our ears are still assaulted by these forbidden words. I despair.

    In an age of zero tolerance, I still think some allegations are more serious than others. Franken has been accused of touching women on the butt when taking photos with them. If those allegations are true, I have a hard time thinking that’s a real trauma for the women. If you’re a voter and you’re having a picture taken with a senator, he’s not in a position of power over you. If anything, the reverse is true. You can just walk away and say “Well, that guy’s a jerk – maybe I’ll give my vote to someone else next time.” That’s not equivalent to the Harvey Weinstein abuses, which are rooted in power. Or the accusations Roy Moore is charged with, which involve underage girls.

    I am a little worried that in future elections, whoever emerges as a frontrunner for either party, and has the highest level of popular support, will just be torpedoed by the opposing party with some sort of spurious allegation, so that the party will nominate a weaker candidate. We’ll all lose if that happens.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have been a member of MPR roughly 45 years, the most recent ten as a sustaining member. I, too, cancelled my membership and let them know why.

      I don’t delude myself, GK is no saint, but I seriously doubt that he has sexually harassed anyone. Same thing with Franken. The price these two have paid for whatever transgressions they are guilty of seems way out of proportion to the allegations against them, especially when you consider that Trump is in the White House.

      I think tim’s point is well taken, that a lot of people, if not most, have said and done things at some point in their lives that they look back upon with shame and regret.

      Liked by 4 people

  9. i think every government employee male and female should be given a lie detector test and cast out into the streets. anyone who refuses admits guilt. all employees who have ever sinned should be thrown out. all the remaining people can start with the crew they have left and build the world they want to be in. the sinners can go to work in a world of sinners where it is understood there is a problem. those who cant tolerate it shouldnt be asked to be in the same building with these people. government is obvious then any publically traded company and company who does business with the public and any person who comes into contact with other people in private or public situations.
    none of this is new news. the playboy bunny who got upset with the standup comic 12 years later as her entertainment career needs a boost now that she rethinking the choice she made to be a nude model in her prior career choice,
    tv and movie mogals are famous sex beasts. should all alfred hitchcocks movies be taken off the air and out of the libraries as garrisons matterial has been removed? benjamin franklin mark twain thoma jefferson all should be removed from the history books because the model doesnt hold up.
    i am so pissed that franken and keilor got railroaded i could spit. this witch hunt reminds me of mccarthy era. frankens out but gop backs moore because he votes like they do. president has 27 offenses against him but keeps referring to hillary and the other distractions he cna conjure up to sidestep consequences he should be held responsible for. how can we possibly allow this poppycock to occur.
    i feel very badly for the ladies and men who have been exploited. charlie rose sat naked in a pool and harvey swinstein cornered and molested as a standard operating procedure.
    everybody knows when there is a slimeball in the office and maybe (i hope) after all this stuff a reported instance will be addressed with respect an made sure not to be allowed to be part of the everyday procedure but a key member of the team.

    Like

  10. Through all of my adult life I’ve listened to MPR pledge drives where the motivators virtually begged for support, and the main reason they offered for listeners to contribute is that MPR made unique and wonderful programs like PHC available. This radio network was built–to a great extent–on the talent and appeal of Garrison Keillor. It seems possible to me that GK did commit an offense that warranted firing him. Or maybe not. But it is wrong to fire a longtime employee without talking to him directly. And it is wrong to sever such a longstanding and intimate working relationship without acknowledging the role he played in building MPR. MPR chucked GK out like smelly garbage. That’s not right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It looks that way. It looks graceless and ungrateful. We may never know the circumstances that led to MPR’s decision to sever its ties to GK, but it’s apparent that MPR felt the action was necessary to protect its brand. It all appears abrupt and extreme, but MPR doesn’t own the rights to the Prairie Home Companion name and doubtless there are other elements that would be in contention if they didn’t make a clean break.

      One would wish for an explanation of their decisions or at least a statement of appreciation for the enormous contribution GK has made to the station. The fact that MPR has been uncomfortably silent suggests to me that they have been following the advice of their attorneys.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s no question in my mind that that’s exactly what’s going on, Bill. We know that GK is very protective of his copyrights, so if MPR is going to break with GK, they don’t have the option to pick and choose to keep what they want. To mix some metaphors, I still smell a rat and think there’s something fishy about this whole situation.

        Like

  11. I’m confused by the perfume commercials on TV. Lots of scantily clad women running / falling into water with a handful showing they can be a ‘badass’ by riding motorcycles or yelling at their boyfriend (but they make up too). Or maybe it’s showing they can be independent? I’m not sure. I had to ask Kelly, to whom do these appeal?? Who’s supposed to be buying the perfume??

    There’s a lot of things I just don’t get.

    Like

    1. Most ads are made by twenty-somethings to appeal to other twenty-somethings. You shouldn’t expect to get them. And perfume ads are a particular problem. What can you say? “It smells real good?” Most perfume doesn’t smell like anything you can describe objectively, so the ads are all image and no substance. Why those images? To get attention.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I have many more scattered thoughts about this that I won’t get down very coherently, but here goes –
    – I think we will look back on this as a “witch hunt” era, and there were martyrs to the cause (Franken, Keillor)
    – a lot of women didn’t come forward at the time of their harassment or abuse because they were fearful (of losing their job, of not being believed, et al.).
    – I wish MPR would reconsider its decision to try and purge PHC, admit they’ve over-reacted – but it wouldn’t appear to be Politically Correct in the current climate
    – I feel so badly for the families of these men.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.