To sexual harassers: We bet you're sweating now, huh?
They're dropping like flies—men in positions of authority who once perhaps thought themselves untouchable, as they then touched and harassed people "below" their perceived caste. As their arrogance grew, so too did their bold, careless, hurtful behavior. It was that arrogance—that presumptuous feeling that they were grander than they were—which brought them tumbling. It's a good thing this is happening; it is so very long overdue.
Americans must be judicious with this newfound empowerment, though, because it will soon seep into the lives of everyday Americans and our local communities, and it will be ours to properly handle. And while it is a positive move to insist that the workplace, the schools and everyday life be free from sexual harassment, we must also be aware of unfair, snap judgements and the inevitability that there will be people who will take advantage and abuse this newfound culture shift.
This new era of zero tolerance is going to require a lot of common sense on the part of the people on the ground, because we will all be walking a very fine, delicate line between supporting those who have truly been harassed and still providing the accused with their own presumption of innocence. This cannot be a witch hunt in an unquestioning realm because, while there are very real sexually harassing men out there, there are also women willing to lie and exaggerate and manipulate. (Our apologies for being gender general here, but the point is the same either way.)
There will inevitably be men who are falsely accused or threatened to be accused, and that is scary, too, because it is one bell that cannot be unrung. One doesn't get publically accused of being a pervert and then walk away with full exoneration in the eyes of everyone ... truth or not.
So, before we get on the "ask no questions, fry them all" bandwagon, let's remember to tap into the common sense we've all hopefully got. And let's remember, too, that not all women are innocent of this type of behavior. If we are to be honest with ourselves, we could all probably think back to some very inappropriate comments or actions that women we know have also made towards men and other women. It just isn't villainized in the same way, albeit it probably also isn't as prevalent. Nobody should be allowed to harass anybody, period.
With that caution sign firmly planted as we move forward, we believe this evolution is promising. Perhaps it means we get to send our daughters and granddaughters out into the world without fearing as much that they will be demeaned or made to feel like worthless toys. Now, let's hope that they won't have to "play the game" or shut their mouths like so many women over the years have had to do.
To all the sexual harassers and predators out there who have been lucky enough to avoid your reckoning thus far, we hope you're sweating now. Maybe you'll get called to the carpet for past behaviors, maybe you won't. But know this: You'd better mind your P's & Q's from here on out, because this movement of strength and unity is bigger and better than your sick sense of entitlement, and you will not win. There are more decent people in this country than not, and those decent people just went and got themselves empowered.