We’re seeing more and more powerful and influential men being ousted from their high pedestals after it is publicly revealed that they have sexually harassed, assaulted, and abused women who worked for (or had contact with) them.
This tendency to use one’s power to harass, attack, bully and retaliate against someone else is sickening, and a long-standing abuse of power dating back longer than any of us can recall. The narcissistic sense of entitlement is out of control. The quid pro quo nonsense that we see throughout every industry must end now!
It is not acceptable to mask this behavior as “locker room talk” or just a case of “boys will be boys”. It is also not acceptable to naively think this behavior is limited to men as the predators and aggressors. We don’t hear of the women who use their power over other women and men because the question victims will always ask, “who would believe me?” and “will speaking up ruin my career and reputation?” which is the sad response victims of male perpetrators are forced to utter.
We don’t hear of the women who grope and fondle other women and men. We don’t hear of the women who also disgustingly toss around the quid pro quo wand to get their sex and power cocktail. There will come a time when victims will speak up and out against the women who like their male counterparts have used their power to assault, harass, and retaliate against individuals who they don’t deem worthy of respect and dignity.
It will take some time before our society creates the culture that stands besides victims. Right now our culture opts to instead vilify and further victimize accusers.
One thing I know to be true, there are many many many more men and women in high positions in private and public sector organizations who are guilty of using their power and influence to sexually victimize, manipulate, and control countless numbers of men and women. They have paid off some accusers while thinking that those who go silent will remain their muted “toys”.
I also know that just as we’re constantly blindsided by news of the cheating high profile husband, we will continue to see high powered men falling on sexual predator swords. Just as we wonder why high powered cheaters didn’t learn from the public ridicule and shame that other cheaters faced, we will find ourselves shaking our heads at more and more executives, entrepreneurs, and politicians who will be exposed for the predators that they are. We will wonder “why would they continue this knowing the risk and knowing that others before them lost their careers, families, and more?” We will see that just like the ones before them, narcissists never accept full responsibility—instead they blame those they have harmed.
Harvey Weinstein is just one boulder on this huge mountain. Just this year alone look at the boulders that we’ve heard about:
- Bill O’Reilly
- Bill Shine
- Eric Bolling
And I of course don’t need to mention another name, because society has already excused his behavior as “locker room talk” even though he’s never spent a day in a locker room to know what men say or don’t say about their sexual “conquests”.
This current scandal is an example of what happens when we give people the power to make and destroy someone’s personal and professional life; when we turn a blind eye to their behavior and go silent when their actions are brought to our attention; when we turn them into idols and deities.
This is another example of how society has failed its people, especially its girls and women.
This is an example of how society has failed to properly raise boys into respectable men, to teach them how to treat others and to never ever assume that they have the right to take something or demand something from someone else just because they are bigger, stronger, wealthier, or more influential.
This is an example of how society has sexualized females and reduced us to our body parts, and a perverse thought process that would have some to believe that a female’s primary purpose is to serve the needs of males—whom society has molded to be sexual “stallions”— also reduced to their sexual organ.
It should never be acceptable that a man or woman asks for or offers to give a massage to an employee, co-worker, job applicant, or volunteer.
It is not acceptable for an employee or other “subordinate” to be asked to come to your hotel room or home, especially if it is not a company-wide or team-included event.
It is not acceptable to undress or get dressed in front of an employee or other “subordinate”, this also includes staff members who work at the hotel where you are staying.
Sexual jokes and comments about a person’s body parts, level of attractiveness, or gender is not acceptable. Telling an employee that they are “sexy” or that they look “sexy” or “hot” in an outfit is not acceptable. It is not okay to pat someone in your office on the rear end, or to tickle them, or kiss them on their face, neck, or mouth. They aren’t your spouse or significant other.
Companies need to invest the time, money and other resources to properly overhaul your human resource department/team and to make sure that this department/team is equipped with everything it needs to help change the culture, practices, rules, and regulations of the company. If you don’t have an HR department then you need to hire an outside team to come in and work side-by-side with your company’s CEO and COO to perform the overhaul.
If the CEO of the company possesses and expresses predatory and/or bully tendencies then guess what? Changing the culture is only possible when the CEO changes their ways or is terminated from the company. Sometimes top leadership needs to be plucked out in order to save the rest of the body from the social cancer that spreads.
We will begin to hear and see more cases of powerful men being publicly accused of sexual harassment and assault. They will be the figureheads of major companies in industries that we support. They will be the faces of the brands we purchase and invest in. They will be leaders in the social sector who we trust to help heal nations through charitable and good will projects. They will the leaders that we voted into office.
What we must not do when we hear of these accusations is blame the accuser. We need to stop pointing fingers of blame and shame towards them. We need to stop telling them that they brought it on themselves or punish them for not coming forward sooner. All of these words and actions are the things they feared most, the things that their perpetrators told them would happen, because honestly…”who’s gonna believe you over me?”
The only way for society to make right this wrong and to heal from this disease is that we must knock down the pillars that create and support this behavior.