In what has become a regular feature of the weekly news cycle, several women have alleged they were sexually assaulted by a wealthy, white man with power, privilege and a predilection for predatory, if not perverse, behavior. Under no circumstances can we normalize these revelations and their outcome if we expect to function as a cohesive society that recognizes fundamental mores. Women are human, for instance.
Affirmative consent is a necessary element of sexual interaction. Children are off limits for your sexual gratification. Ejaculate is a bodily fluid, that in order to share with another, one must seek permission. The most recent allegations against Louis C.K. and former Judge Roy Moore may not shock the conscience. Perhaps even those against Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein don’t come as that much of a surprise based on what we’ve heard about the casting couch. To be sure, the slaps on the wrist as punishment aren’t surprises anymore either and may merit a heavy sigh or a “meh.”
Wealthy, male predators, or WMPs, have gotten sweetheart deals for a long time. The difference today is the speed by which their dirty, if not evil, deeds go viral, as we argue about whether they are criminal, the result of bad judgment or merely “boys being boys.”
Where do we even start?
Et tu Louis? After the story broke in The New York Times, a male friend and a long-time fan of the comedian texted me: “Jacking in front of women!” he wrote, followed by, “At this rate, no man will dare remove his penis from pants ever again.” To which I replied “Not even close, but women are feeling empowered.”
“But it’s Louis,” he texted. “You have to cut him some slack.”
I see now. Believe Women, but Excuse Men? No. No. No. That’s not how this works at all.
Should we give a pass to former Judge Moore, the gun-totin’, NRA lovin’, civil rights obstructin’, renowned racist good ol’ boy and now Alabama Senate candidate and ignore the reports he kissed a 14-year-old girl while he was a prosecutor and her mother was in a custody case in the courthouse? Jesus said we should, according to his Republican pals, because all he did was kiss her. Sean Hannity said so, too, and that she was capable of consent. The saddest part is that in Kentucky, he’s right, at least as far as minors older than 16 years old go. Attorney Krsna Tibbs, who defended the first human trafficking case in Jefferson County with a minor as a prosecuting witness, said 16 years old is the age of consent in our Commonwealth.
Sing along with me here:
“Judge Moore frenched me, this I know. I’m 16, and it’s OK. Kentucky and the Lord told him so.”
In some circles, apparently it’s not sinful, an aberration or a crime, to spread your seed with kids or women against their will, but don’t spill it or you’re going to hell! Sorry, Louis, but that doesn’t bode well for you.
It doesn’t bode well for Jeffrey Epstein either, who goes to trial Dec. 5 in Palm Beach, Florida on claims of malicious prosecution of the lawyer who had represented a half dozen underage girls Epstein allegedly solicited to engage in prostitution prior to 2008 and paid them for sexually charged massages. Billionaire Epstein, according to one woman, bought and sold her as a gift — you know, like special toiletries in hotel bathrooms — to his uber-powerful friends.
Federal prosecutors spoke out recently to defend Epstein’s 18-month sentence for soliciting prostitution of a minor. They signed off on the deal, they said, because they didn’t want the girls to have to go through the trauma of a trial and wanted them to get paid.
Wait. A governmental entity determined it was in the best interest of girls to refuse to give them a chance to seek justice?
The patriarchy lives in the examples of its best WMPs and their enablers. If there is any conclusion to draw from the #MeToo movement and revelation after revelation of rampant sexual harassment and abuse, it is that we have to continue to channel our anger into changing the deals meted out to WMPs to give them some teeth — monetary and jail time please — to deter the predatory behavior.
At the end of the day, either the WMPs survive or the girls and women who are sick and tired of being abused and shamed and silenced do.
As my other favorite Gloria sings – “At first I was afraid, I was petrified.” #NoMoore