Reflecting on sexual misconduct by powerful men in the modern age

Reflecting on sexual misconduct by powerful men in the modern age

Sylvester Stallone. Al Franken. Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. Roy Moore. These men and countless others are on a list that’s growing every day.

Our modern sensibilities can be blamed for a whole lot of bad in this world from abandonment of a Biblical worldview to embracing failed ideologies such as socialism. One thing that has progressed positively in some regards is a problem that has been around since man was first put on the earth: disapproval of sexual misconduct.

Up until very recently, crimes against women (and men) perpetrated by people in power had been “acceptable.” It’s not that it was right or not deserving of punishment, but it was accepted as a part of human existence. Powerful men got away with actions that other men couldn’t, particularly when it came to the treatment of objects of their sexual desires. Over the last few decades, this “acceptance” has been fading. Now, American society seems to be at a tipping point upon which the “acceptable” is no longer tolerated.

Women (and men) are coming forward with their stories. Most of them had valid reasons for not coming forward before, whether it was out of fear, shame, helplessness, or simply because they didn’t think anyone would believe them. Thanks to the floodgates Harvey Weinstein’s accusers opened and the support the accusers are getting in the media and on social media, courage is finally getting the better of the men who used their power to prey on people.

The problem isn’t solved. In fact, we’re now faced with the rise of an old but persistent problem: false accusations. It’s now required in our society to believe first and question the accounts only if there’s a clear reason to do so. That doesn’t mean every account is truly believed by everyone, but if you want to make enemies in the court of public opinion, call an accuser a liar without the ability to prove it.

What are we to do as a society? Do we believe every accusation? No. Some of them will be false and we must be discerning while being fair. Do we denounce all or most of them? No. The abundance of sexual misconduct accusations is a necessary polarizing force. It’s not what predators in power wanted, but it may have been necessary for us to finally overcome the biggest roadblock to redemption for the victims, the roadblock of “acceptance” of these predators as part of being human.

Standard operating procedure before the #MeToo uprising was for victims and those familiar with the crimes to report them, pretend they didn’t happen, or deal with them internally within an industry or other circumstance. Weinsten, for example, was known by a whole lot of people in Hollywood to do what he’s been accused of doing. Many actresses would warn other actresses about it, but until recently they wouldn’t speak out publicly. This is the thing that’s going to disappear in this brave new world of #MeToo. It’s no longer acceptable to just warn others in an industrial variation of internal housekeeping. Courage and support are now available to everyone. Suddenly, we’re expected to report every infraction.

Pandora’s Box has been opened on past and current sexual predators. As destructive as this will be on many industries and institutions from Hollywood to Washington DC, it’s absolutely necessary. In fact, it’s amazing that it’s taken this long to come to light. Welcome to the new sexual revolution.