This is a sensitive subject. It seems that lately you can’t turn on the tv or radio and not hear about another famous male being accused of sexual misconduct. This isn’t a recent epidemic of misbehavior because many of these allegations date back decades. It appears, rather, that for the first time in decades, (probably centuries) women are being heard…long overdue.
That said, I believe in justice, for all, and now that a woman’s voice is being taken seriously I think it’s vital that the situations profiled are legitimate. If a man truly behaved in an inappropriate way he deserves to face the music. If that means a fall from grace or a job loss, so be it. He deserves it. What I fear is the woman out there who wants to ‘stick it to a guy’ that she has it in for, for personal reasons, and they’re out there.
I’d venture to say these are the vast minority, but they exist and they have the potential to destroy a man’s life and career, just because they can. Sadly, allegations are made public and job suspensions are doled out long before any evidence is heard and by the time true fact is revealed, the man’s career and reputation are destroyed. Even if allegations are proven false it’s too late. There will always be suspicion, a shadow of doubt, and his innocence will never be as widely advertised as the initial accusation because it doesn’t sell news. It does however, destroy a life.
I have a friend who grew up with a young man who was somewhat shy, a loner, very introverted. He lived with his mother all of his life. He never aspired to much because he wanted anonymity. He had little education but was lucky to secure a job in health care at a local nursing home and he never missed a day of work. His life was his job and caring for his mother and that was enough for him.
A disgruntled employee (female) who lacked his dedication to her role, wanted notoriety, in whatever form it came. She claimed he had sexually assaulted an elderly resident and made lewd and suggestive advances toward her. He was immediately suspended without pay, the accusations became public knowledge, and his fate was sealed. He tried to defend himself but as a loner he had few to vouch for him, no witnesses. She, on the other hand, was vocal, and captured the attention of media. What she didn’t anticipate however, was the elderly resident being lucid enough to deny the allegations. After a lengthy investigation, it was determined that her charges were unfounded – there was no evidence to support her claims and eventually she admitted she’d fabricated the whole scene. Interestingly this news wasn’t as widely broadcast as the initial charges, the damage to a young man’s reputation was done, and could not be undone. But it didn’t matter anymore. The young man, unable to cope in a world that now rejected him took his own life.
I’m certainly not saying every accusation of sexual misconduct is false. In fact, I’d venture to say most are bang on, and if they keep digging they’ll find more, but there are some unscrupulous women out there who have a mad on with someone and this provides them with the perfect weapon to destroy an innocent life. Whatever happened to ‘innocent until proven guilty’? Why are we so quick to defame a character before evidence has been weighed?
Women have been victims of molestation and unwanted sexual attention for centuries and they took it because men dominated and complaints would fall on deaf ears. Now, as women gain intellectual equality in business and society, their confidence takes the forefront. They are no longer afraid and the voices are louder, voices that now include men because for all the men who are guilty of abusing women, there’s ten times more who respect and support them.
For those men guilty of any form of misconduct, I hope you rot in hell. And for the women who falsely accuse them I hope you join them. I look forward to the day when we share equality between the sexes, true and complete equality. Until then, we have to trust in the integrity of our fellow man/woman. Heaven help us.