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Sunday, September 22, 2019

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The sexual harassment scandals has given victims the power to speak out

The sexual harassment scandals has given victims the power to speak out

The Harvey Weinstein scandal has brought the whole issue of sexual harassment and abuse out into the open and has given victims the courage and power to the talk about how someone violated them.

Recent allegations include director James Toback, Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly and its ousted CEO Roger Ailes, also celebrities like Bill Cosby, Chef John Besh and even President Trump.

Bill O’Reilly was interviewed about the recent cover up payment of 32 million dollars he allegedly paid to one of his victims. He came out with this statement: “You know, am I mad at God? Yeah, I’m mad at him. I wish I had more protection.”

In a skit on the Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, God accepts some blame for Bill O’Reilly’s sexual harassment woes. An image of God appeared on the Late Show ceiling and Stephen Colbert asks God is he to blame for O’Reilly’s woes. To Colbert’s surprise, God confesses his blame for the O’Reilly mess. “Yeah, I gave him that free will, and look what he did with it!”

That’s right! God gave us free will and look what we did with it. God gave us sexual passions for the purpose of continuing the human race and for the giving oneself to a partner in a committed relationship. We have turned sexuality into a recreational activity, not as a gift from one committed person to another, but into a selfish game of “what’s in it for me.”

Notice that all the people accused of sexual assaults and harassments are people of power. The vast majority are men but some women also abuse their power. Even the sexual abusers who appear in our newspapers or on picture-postcard-notices have some type of power in their own environment – a family member, a co-worker, an older person taking advantage of a teenager.

This is the Original Sin repeated all over again. In the Garden of Eden, the serpent asks Eve why does God not want them to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She doesn’t know why but she knows that if she eats it, she will die. The serpent says, “You will not die; for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Gen. 3:4-5)

Adam and Eve wanted the power; so they eat the fruit.

The perpetrators, tempted by their illusion of power, say to themselves, “I am in control. I have the power and what I want. This is my world. I can do anything that pleases me.”

The problem is that sexual abuse and harassment are dehumanizing because perpetrators treat women and other victims like sexual objects. The sexual predators think they have a right to use another person for their own gratification. They never consider the feelings of the victim.

Actress Alyssa Milano started the #MeToo hashtag to encourage women to share their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. The framework from the very start was group therapy, with the session conducted not in a church meeting hall with a handful of people but online in front of a potential audience of countless millions. The number of people claiming to have been abused is mind blowing.

I have counseled several women who were sexually violated in some way. It was a real emotional experience for them. Most women did not want to talk about the experience because they keep asking questions: “Did I do something to bring this about?” “Why did he pick on me?”

We have to train our young men that just because they have passions, they don’t have to satisfy them. Delayed gratification is a good thing. Our sexuality is a beauty thing. But as God said in Colbert’s skit, “I gave them free will, and look what they did with it!”

Use it wisely!