Over 36 men in executive positions have been accused of the same crime in the past year, and the same old excuses and cover ups have denoted the serious allegations circling the media. Donald Trump, Roy Moore, Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, it is inevitable how the fruit never seems to fall far from the tree. The only people these criminals seem to hold accountable for their actions are ones making the claims against them.
Because these men hold such powerful positions it is easy for people to have faith, and assume the best in them; but, In a nutshell, these men continue to exist- denoted criminals, negotiating the same bribes and excuses to persuade the citizens of America believe otherwise. As a free nation with citizens of moral value, it is up to the people of America to support victims of sexual misconduct and the truth. Old allegations, anti-feminism, and locker-room talk are just a few of the many reasons these men are not getting what they deserve. What controls how far you go in life? That’s an extensive question with what should be an intricate answer.
For many, that answer can be simplified to one word: power. Although it had taken years for the stories to come to face, once public knowledge, Harvey Weinstein lost his job at the company that yields his name, but not without getting away with it for years. Weinstein had all the money and power in the world, of course he would cover-up what he did in forms of settlements: “During that time, after being confronted with allegations including sexual harassment and unwanted physical contact, Mr. Weinstein has reached at least eight settlements with women” (Kantor). One of the biggest defenses against these “men of power” are that women coming out with their sexual harassment/assault stories have waited considerate amounts of time after the fact. This is simply because they have been paid boatloads of money to stay quiet, and now that allegations are coming out against people like Harvey Weinstein, they feel like they have a big enough support system to speak up about what happened to them.
The settlements made by Weinstein were intentionally to “avoid litigation and buy peace” (Kantor), which was a bomb itself waiting to be set off. One of the most common reasons for women to avoid reporting a sexual assault is because they are experiencing a variety of psychological reactions such as shame, denial, guilt, embarrassment, etc. This was proven in a recent Global/Ipsos Reid poll: “the most common reason women gave for not reporting a sexual assault to the police was feeling young and powerless (56%).
40% of respondents said they stayed silent because of the shame they felt and 29% said they blamed themselves for the assault” (Rodas). Sexaul assault and harassment is immensely traumatic to the women who are victims and it oftentimes results in disorders like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The action of simply disclosing the event can trigger the horrific memories and can be retraumatizing for victims. Most women want to forget the incident as a whole because they have suffered so much already.
In the audio of the notorious “chat” between President Donald Trump and Billy Bush, they both can be heard discussing Trump’s failed endeavor of enticing a woman: “I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her…you know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet.
Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it…you can do anything” (qtd. in Bullock).
In a comment after the video was leaked Trump exclaimed, “This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago” (qtd in Fahrenthold). Trump proceeds to “apologize” to anyone he “offended” but in reality is it okay for men to speak about women in private like this? From a position of simple psychology, absolutely not. There is an issue with it, and it’s not just about being politically correct. It is crucial that we comprehend the harm this kind of talk does to not only women, but to the men who are listening to it, and the men talking this way. Trump’s justification of his lecherous comments being just “locker-room banter” depicts a misconception of the influence of words themselves, and the associations they create are hard to forget, especially when they are coming from the most powerful person in our country, the President himself. As this man sits in the oval office, without any consequence for his actions or words, Senator Al Franken of Minnesota is resigning from congress because of allegations of sexual harassment, which he has denied. Al Franken is regretful about having to step down from his position but still manages to blast President Trump in his resignation speech: “I, of all people, am aware that there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office” (qtd.
in Phillips). While the accusations against Al Franken are just as bad as what Trump did, he has done the right thing by stepping down from his position. Why shouldn’t Trump be urged to do the same? Again this puts America in turmoil about the way women should/shouldn’t be treated and sets a precedent for how much power the president holds over all other people in the same or similar positions.