As allegations of copious amounts of sexual misdeeds continue to pour out against media personalities, public figures, and politicians, I have heard some people take the position “Oh Great! Now you can’t even ask a girl on a date without being accused of harassment.”
Now, I have to be honest with the group of people who have expressed this sentiment; there simply is no way you could have possibly read past the headlines in the bulk of the stories.
Because in a great number of these events, we aren’t talking about individuals who have been accused of harassment because they said to someone, “I was wondering, would you be interested in grabbing a bite to eat or drink sometime?”
Instead, the bulk of the allegations that have come to light involve sick, sadistic, and in my opinion a lot of times, criminal behavior.
For example, the recent news that has come to light after NBC’s Today show host Matt Lauer, who was abruptly terminated from the job he held for almost twenty years after allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. Multiple media outlets reported that some of the offenses alleged against Lauer included:
Exposing his penis to a female employee and then lecturing her when she refused to engage with him.
Giving a female employee a sex toy along with a note detailing how he wanted to use it on her.
Having a switch under his office desk that allowed him to lock the door without getting up, allowing him to make inappropriate advances on female staffers without worrying about being walked in on.
Yes… that is not some horrific typo. Indeed, Matt Lauer of the Today Show is accused of having a secret button installed at his desk that allowed him to lock the door to his office. Bear in mind, I’m using the word “accused” very generously here. Having a secret locking device in your office is fairly easy to prove and not a situation of “he said she said.”
Matt Lauer's secret button begs the question, how in the literal f*** does Matt Lauer have a secret locking device installed in his office without anyone of authority saying something?
Granted, I’ve never been to the executive offices of the Today Show, however, in my mind it seems impossible that no one happened to notice some contractors or an electrician installing a secret locking device in Lauer’s office.
The evidence for why person’s at NBC may have looked the other way as Lauer had his sex dungeon outfitted during the workday could come from some of the quotes published by many media sites, such as Vice News that said:
“Employees say it was an open secret among staff at Today that he intermingled sex with work, and while the encounters were often consensual.”
To be clear, the best case scenario here is that NBC executives assumed Lauer installed an electronic locking device on his door to facilitate his commission of consensual adulterous affairs at the office. Again, the “best case scenario," is to suggest that people looked the other way because Lauer regularly cheated on his wife, and was so lazy he couldn’t even get up from his desk to lock his door.
That’s the best case scenario…
Now, even if the best case scenario is true… I’m sorry, this is still not ok.
In fact, it is the presumption of this “best case scenario” that is the root of the problem over why these public figures seem to be so brazen in their behaviors.
For example, it appears Harvey Weinstein had no problem pulling his penis out in front of anyone. Even going as far as to masturbate in a potted plant in a restaurant kitchen.
Or Lauer being accused of pulling his penis out and then chastising a woman because, he might be the host of the Today Show, however, his penis evidently wasn’t the show she was looking for today.
“What do you mean you don’t want to touch my penis? I’m Matt Lauer! They let me install a secret button on my desk to lock the door! I’m god!”
At the end of the day, what is more disturbing than the behavior many of this individuals have been accused of committing, is the lack of surprise or shock by the overwhelming number of women across this country.
Essentially, the average woman on Facebook may not have had Matt Lauer pull his penis out in front of her, however, an appalling number of women have personal stories of some average guy doing something similar.
I don’t know where we have gone wrong as a society that we have been so consumed by a financial gain that we think people like Matt Lauer are entitled to turn their workspaces into their personal little dens of depravity.
Lauer’s benefit for being a well-liked TV personality and generating viewership, de facto advertisement revenues, comes from the $25 million dollars a year salary he receives. That is more than enough to compensate him for his duties and by no means should allowing him to establish his own Sodom and Gomorrah, or feeding him victims even remotely be considered.
I don’t know where we have gone wrong in a society that the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the world, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), concludes that out of every 1000 rapes that occur in America only, 310 will be reported to the police. Out of that 310, only 57 will ever lead to arrest. In those 57 cases were someone is arrested, only 11 will go to trial. On average, only 7 of those 11 will result in a felony conviction, and just six will be incarcerated. The perpetrators of sexual violence are less likely to go to jail or prison that all other criminal offenses. In terms, of sexual assaults (excluding rape), the numbers aren’t any better, with an average of only 344 out of 1,000 attacks being reported.
Essentially, out of 1000 women who read this, statistically speaking, 909 of you could be raped in America with absolute impunity.
The topic of female objectification and sexual abuse seems to be a noiseless cultural norm that permeates every demographic in America.
It slithers underneath closed doors in the suburbs and slinks into locked bedrooms within inner cities. America is supposed to be the global flagship of freedom and democracy. However, the reality is, there is an unspoken pandemic of female victimization in the United States.
Assuredly, there are many other areas in which women are disproportionately treated. However, the issue of female sexual victimization is one of the most intimate and prevalent aspects of gender inequality that exists.
Alarmingly, it endures within a deafening vacuum of silence or seems to be essentially condoned provided you are in a position of power.
I truly have to ask myself, where have we gone wrong as a society, where women as a whole can be treated like sexual objects used as target practice for sexual abuse; or like conscripted spoils of war for the champions of capitalism.
Honestly, where have we all gone wrong, when as a father of two girls, I have to consider, is honestly my only and best option, training my daughters to be proficient with a handgun, and then giving them the gift of a concealed weapons permit on their 18th birthday?
If for no other reason than, I have very little doubt Matt Lauer could find that unlock button real quick if he was staring down a 357 magnum.
Ultimately, for all of these reasons I have to say if this is where we are in society… frankly, that’s beyond sad for us all.