The security of order, a belief that others will do what society expects of them.
Two years ago we learned, more and more each day, that what many of us suspected–or knew–to be true is a harsh reality. Every day, it seemed, another man in power was accused of sexual misconduct, and while there may have been a woman or two crying wolf (no pun intended), most were credible. They are credible in part because we know this happens.
Early on in the “Me Too” movement I listened to a reporter on NPR, Mary Louise Kelly, interview the head of that organization over the resignation of an executive after allegations of sexual harassment were revealed. She was professional, but you could hear the anger in her voice as she asked direct questions. When did you know…why didn’t you do more….? She was the voice of so many women, and while I’m not going to say she spoke for the victims (because I can’t speak for them), her words resonated with me.
She was also the voice of hundreds of NPR employees, angry and frustrated at being scooped on this story by the Washington Post. I get that anger. It’s a professional slap in the face, as well as a betrayal by those internally who knew this information yet kept it secret. But the larger frustration comes from all those who knew what was going on and were waiting for something to be done.
It’s hard to trust those who just let things slide, no matter how fearful they may have been of the consequences. Well, let me qualify that–fear of some consequences may be understandable, and what you choose to understand is up to you. But ducking your head when you have the power to do something is hard to forgive.
Does the movement continue, even without news coverage? I know that to some extent it does, for a man I suspected of sexually harassing women has just been accused of such misconduct by several women who previously worked for him. I say I suspected him of doing this because I believe I received an objectionable phone call from him when I worked for him. I reported it to the phone company (at the time they handled these things) and was told that under no circumstances would I be told who made the call, but it would be investigated. So I don’t know if he made the call or not, and I never will.
A short time after I reported this phone call I was fired for fuzzy reasons by the man I believe was the guilty party. I reported this to the phone company as well, and was told they would investigate, but I knew that the situation was hopeless.
I hope this man is brought to justice. Circumstances today are much more conducive to action.
In the meantime, all you who face this sort of manipulative, frightening, infuriating behavior, I hope you have the support you need to come forward and point fingers at those who should be held accountable. I know it isn’t easy, and I know accusations don’t always lead to the desired result. Get good counsel.
God and friends be with you.
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