Sexual Harassment Leaves Lasting Emotional Scars - Higher Education
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Sexual Harassment Leaves Lasting Emotional Scars

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It seems these days, men are dropping off like flies. Their acts of wrong living have finally caught up with them.

Sexual harassment is nothing new. It didn’t just come on the scene recently. Women and some men have been victims of sexual abuse for years and have not fought back. Their voices remained silent while their minds were crying out.

However, in recent years more women have become empowered and emboldened.

I will not visit the past but will go straight to the present. Men like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Bill Cosby used their power to control women and have them commit acts against their will. It especially pains me to mention Bill Cosby in this negative light because at one point in his career, he was America’s dad.

Many years ago during my graduate school days, I had the opportunity to meet Bill Cosby and play tennis with him. To see his name and his reputation ruined like it has been, is sad.

The men I have mentioned probably never thought their acts of sexual misconduct would ever see the light of day. Why?  I believe it was a combination of reasons.

First and foremost, I believe these men exercised great power over their victims. Women were simply too afraid to speak out. Money, and I mean great amounts of money, played a role in keeping some of them quiet. I believe they were so threatened they just didn’t say anything. Lastly, they became introspective and asked the question: Who would believe them? Their answer until recently was nobody.

While there are other reasons, I believe the above-mentioned reasons were certainly in the mix.

The past few weeks have brought about apologies from men who have been called out and made ashamed. Former comedian and now  Minnesota Sen. Al Franken apologized to former model and now radio talk show host, Leann Tweeden. CBS fired newsman Charlie Rose because of his inappropriate behavior with women. And now, we’ve learned that NBC has dismissed Today Show host Matt Lauer from his coveted morning show job.

Women and men are speaking out daily against sexual assault and abuse. Cases and charges against the alleged perpetrators have only just begun. Our society is inching closer to equal rights and greater respect for women. Coalitions of men and women must band together to stamp out this vile element that has long plagued our world. Work places for women cannot be places where they are afraid and intimidated.

Respect for each other starts in our homes and in our schools. Respect and civility must be the rule and not the exception.

We can change this crude behavior. When we do, we will reap the rewards and our places and spaces will become better.