KERRY HUBARTT: Women are not objects for men’s power and pleasure

Kerry Hubartt

Why would any man think he could treat women like sexual objects for his personal gratification?

Why would any woman tolerate that kind of treatment? Or why, if they believe they were violated, would they not report it?

Last year the leak of an Access Hollywood tape of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump talking to Billy Bush 25 years ago was released in which he could be heard bragging about groping women. On the tape he said powerful men can get away with anything.

A year later, as Skylar Baker-Jordan of independent.co.uk wrote recently, “another powerful man – Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein – stands accused by dozens of women of sexual abuse. The accusations span decades, and … have opened up a dialogue about sexual harassment, abuse and the predation women experience not just in the entertainment industry, but across the professions.”

Since she wrote that, more allegations have emerged, condemning Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, actor Kevin Spacey and most recently Minnesota Sen. Al Franken and TV talk show host Charlie Rose among many others for everything from sexual harassment to sexual assault or abuse.

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual act or behavior which is threatening, violent, forced or coercive and to which a person has not given consent or was not able to give consent.

Sexual abuse is any sort of non-consensual sexual contact.

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when made as a term or condition of employment or other similar situations.

The alleged sex abusers and their defenders ask why accusers wait so long to make their allegations? Suddenly it’s the victims and their claims that are suspect, rather than the men they accuse.

Earl Ofari Hutchinson, writing for the Chicago Tribune, points to the alleged rapes, drugging and victimization by comedian Bill Cosby that is said to have gone on for decades: “Many of the victims themselves screamed foul. In some cases, they filed police complaints. This all fell on deaf ears,” he wrote.

“The deafest ears of all are within the legal system. Wealthy guys can play the system by spreading lots of cash around and shelling it out in numerous settlements with the victims. The settlements buy silence.”

Power may, indeed, be the engine that drives sexual predators, and the more wealthy they are, the more powerful they are. But that power covers levels far lower than the political and Hollywood icons. And so more and more women have been coming forward in a flurry of allegations against men all across the country.

Perhaps women are becoming emboldened by others who have had the courage to come forward with the disturbing truth they’ve kept to themselves or have been unable to make others believe. What’s important is that women not accept that kind of treatment from any man and that when they make accusations the legal system takes them seriously enough to find out the truth.

Women are not objects for men’s power and pleasure, nor should they ever subject themselves to that role.

Kerry Hubartt is former editor of The News-Sentinel.

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