It’s Raining Men. More accurately, it’s raining perpetrators of sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault.
Every day the list of the accused grows and another top CEO, celebrity, TV personality, movie producer, or political figure is toppled from their throne. This is the most updated list (as of right now) of some of the most famous names that fell from grace.
So, in the midst of all this crashing and burning, what are the takeaways, lessons to be learned, and ultimate effects?
First of all, a sense of disgust. As a teenage girl entering the real world all too soon, it is absolutely terrifying to know that these are the people who I will have to face in my own future. There is nothing that set these women apart that made them targets of unwanted attention. It could just as well be anyone. For all the incidents that are being reported, there are thousands more that won’t be, and thousands of more people who still think that such actions are acceptable or harmless.
Second, comes the solidarity and sense of justice. These women suffered on all different levels, for long and short periods of time. That is so wrong and I empathize and sympathize with their pain. Whether it was physical or emotional or financial or career-related difficulties that they endured, they shouldn’t have had to. But at least now they get the final say and got a chance to bring down their harassers. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Human nature has proved time and time again that revenge is truly a powerful thing.
The third stage is sadness. Heartbreaking disappointment and a sense of betrayal. Contrary to what you might have predicted, I am speaking of sadness for *some of* the men accused. Please don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying that they did not deserve it, or that they were right in any way. They weren’t. And for the repeat offenders, well they never learned how to get themselves together and I don’t feel bad for them. But I feel sorry for the men whose voices I grew up listening to on the radio like Garrison Keillor and Jonathan Schwartz and Leonard Lopate. I feel sorry for Matt Lauer and Al Franken and all the people who I saw as the good guys, the heroes, the ones who were on our side.I’m sad for my younger self who believed in the best in everyone and never dreamed those good people did bad things. I feel sad for their marriages, long-standing careers, friends, and children. I feel bad for them because a mistake, if it was a mistake, is heartbreaking when you do not get a second chance.
So what do we do? We take their places, we crack down, and we make this monsoon a history lesson. That nobody walks free anymore. That women will not be objectified and harassed anymore. Enough has been enough for far too long. So let’s bring the appropriate justice to those who deserve it. And let’s forgive those who made a mistake, but not forget. Because we have all made mistakes. But let’s make new rules and create a climate where women do not have to hold in their suffering for years and decades. The past happened. And it was bad, and boy did we release the floodgates. In the aftermath of the storm, how are we going to rebuild, strengthen, and fortify?
So there it is. The monsters and the good guys all fall down. When it’s the Salem witch trials and you’re a witch, regardless of if you performed the lowest of spells or not, that’s it for you. You should have known better. That’s all. Now you know better.