Women have made huge strides, but why are too many still being raped and harassed?

Two different stories this week frame an important issue. First, I read an article that said 15% of undergraduate women who attended the University of Texas at Austin had been raped. That is appalling.

Second, Bill O’Reilly has been re-signed under another Fox contract. This is after a story of five settlements of sexual harassment claims were unearthed by The New York Times. It should be noted the network who signed him let go Roger Ailes, the head of Fox News, for similar sexual harassment issues, but felt so badly they did not do it for “cause” and he was punished with a $38 million go-away settlement. Since O’Reilly has a following, his sexual harassment must be less relevant to the network.

These two stories come on the heels of the US Marine Corp sexual harassment scandal and the Baylor University football team rape scandal through a hostess recruiting program for players. And, we should not forget our President has admitted on at least two occasions that he sexually harassed or assaulted women because of his celebrity and power.

Women and girls are maltreated around the globe. Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s powerful book “Half the Sky” graphically describes sexual slavery,  trafficking, mutilation, domestic violence, rape and second class citizen treatment. But, we have sexual slavery, trafficking, domestic violence, rape and harassment here in the Western world, too. Former President Jimmy Carter wrote of this in his book “A Call to Action,” which is an excellent follow up to the Kristof/ WuDunn book.

Western women have made huge strides in gaining more opportunity, yet the level of sexual maltreatment has seemingly risen. Perhaps, it is due to more rapes and harassment being reported. Or, maybe it is  due to women being framed as sexual objects though advertising, marketing and entertainment media. Sexual harassment and rapes continue to be a huge problem for the military (even before the Marine scandal) and college campuses.

What do we do about this? We need to say very loudly this is not right. We need to  come down hard on leaders and institutions who have looked the other way. We need to vote with our feet and not attend universities who don’t have their act together.

We should not vote for politicians who have maltreated women. I am still stunned that our President was elected after more of his sexual harassment was revealed. In my view, there were several reasons not to vote for him, but how could anyone do so after the Howard Stern interview and Access Hollywood tape became public?

To lessen this maltreatment, it has to have more than women’s voices behind the effort. All of us need to stand up to people and organizations that maltreat women or look the other way. Women hold up “half the sky,” so we all benefit by treating women like we want to be treated.




30 thoughts on “Women have made huge strides, but why are too many still being raped and harassed?

    • Renxkyoko, thanks for commenting. I cannot believe a politician, much less anyone, would say something that stupid. I had to find out who said this – “An Oklahoma politician has said on record that rape and incest are ‘the will of God’. The comments came from state Representative George Faught, the author of House Bill 1549, which bans abortions based on genetic abnormalities.”

      I did stumble onto this gem from an Indiana politician in 2012, Richard Mourdock, who said the following: “I’ve struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize that life is that gift from God,” Mourdock said. “And even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”

      People need to call these guys on the carpet. The question to be asked of these guys is what would you say if a policeman said this after your wife or daughter were raped?


    • Raye, what does it say about a business to tolerate someone who sexually harasses women? As with Ailes, I have seen countless Executive Contracts, but I have rarely witnessed an executive being fired for cause under the contract. The same company paid out settlements for the activities of this boorish man, yet cannot fire him for cause and deny paying the harasser $38 million? Keith

    • Hugh, the Baylor thing is likely not an outlier. We have to remember that Baylor was once part of the now defunct Southwest Conference who was unwound due to out of control boosters. How many young girls were coerced to take one for the team? Keith

  1. Note to Readers: Two keys not mentioned are for the roles of fathers and mothers and sex education. Parents must impart to their children of both sexes the importance of treating women less as sex objects and for girls and women to respect and value themselves. Boys must be taught similarly about themselves and how to treat women. I also feel there is huge role for formal sex education, which should include the issue of self esteem and to go into sexual relationships with more care and diligence than all too often is given.

  2. It’s been a long few days, and I am not sure where I read it= I think in a book and not online, but there was a very well-written paragraph addressing apathy and silence being as bad or almost as bad as the crime.. if one was aware and stood by in silence…

    it’s something we all know, yet something very difficult to do at times…

    • Lisa, I have read something similar as it relates to the German citizens in Nazi Germany. I remember the Irish singer who had the big hit “Nothing Compares to You,” being booed after she commented on the Catholic Church turning a blind eye toward its pedophile priests and tore up a picture of the pope. She was booed, but she turned out to be right as there were more than a few Irish priests culpable. That is chutzpah and we need more folks to call organizations on the carpet. Keith

  3. Thank you for making aware of those doubtless intolerable conditions! I still cannot understand how low the respect level for women still is – it is even scarier that it happens in well-educated circles … as you said, even a president is no role model and is even excused. What a world picture do some people have….

  4. Note to Readers: I do want to share a good move by a company regarding a harassment claim. A senior consultant was let go after several warnings for harassment, not sexual harassment. The male consultant treated all subordinates very poorly, the majority of whom were female. In essence, he was fired for being an asshole to people who were not his peers or clients.

    While not sexual harassment, this action reveals that the company came to a correct decision. Harassment is about the misuse of power over people.

  5. Note to Readers: Just today, Reuters is reporting another sexual harassment lawsuit against Mr. Ailes. His attorney called it “hogwash,” but the case was filed against him and Fox.

    • Dear Keith,

      I am only surprised that there are not more sexual harassment claims v Fox and others. In their claims of innocence, they have lost all credibility.

      What bothers me most about the election of DT, is how many women voted for him. I am certain that the record numbers of women participating in the 1/21/17 Women’s March was a direct rebuke of having someone like DT in the WH.

      Ciao, Gronda

      • Gronda, the industry has more than their share as men are overseeing photogenic women who come across well on camera. I don’t know if Fox has more, but it sure seems that way.

        I think too many women voted against HRC than for Trump. She was far from perfect, but she was a clear better choice, who knows how to govern and treat other leaders and people. Saying Russian involvement did not impact this election is a bridge too far for me. Keith

  6. Misogyny, along with racism, has been just below the surface all along. Harsh economic times always bring along more scapegoating and hate crimes, including rape. And now, so very unfortunately, the individual invested with the honor of the highest office of the United States, tacitly condones contempt and hate for anyone who is not a white male. In addition, the far-right Christian ideology carries an understated disdain for women (as well as for education).

    Keith, you may find this article interesting: “Inside the Dangerous Convergence of Men’s-Rights Activists and the Extreme Alt-Right” [http://nymag.com/thecut/2017/03/what-james-jackson-reveals-about-mgtow-and-the-alt-right.html]

    • JoAnn, excellent comment. I just want to stand up and shout this stuff has to stop. Did you see the two quotes from the GOP politicians saying babies resulting from rape and incest are God’s will. Those are inane assertions. Thanks for your book recommendation. When I think of the Alt Right, I think of the Oscar Hammerstein song lyric from South Pacific, “you have to be carefully taught” to be bigoted. I appreciate your comments. Keith

  7. I think that, no matter how far we come, some will always think of women as having been put on earth for the pleasure of men. I know some who, though they might deny it, still have this attitude. DT certainly has done nothing to dispel it, either. 😦

    • Jill, if you set aside his bad policy decisions and incompetence, we are still are left with an egomaniacal, name calling womanizer. What message does that send to our children and women? How this man got elected is beyond me. Keith

      • Ah, Keith … that is the question that has been haunting me since November 8th! HOW??? WHY??? Much as I am sure many asked themselves in Germany and Italy … how did we not see??? How did we not know??? And, to answer your question, the message it sends our children is one that sets us back 50 … maybe even 100 years. And I then ask … was it really progress, or was it all superficial? Did Trump set us back, or merely expose the fissures in what appeared to be progress? (Too much musing for me, I think, after driving nearly 500 miles … the mind gets fuzzy, as the body tires)

      • Jill, to his credit, he carved a plan to go see the disenfranchised and blame their lot on others in a simplistic fashion. His message resonated, regardless of its overlooking the complexity of the issues, and he promised the moon. What is interesting is the lack of awareness of how he has proposed (and done) actions that kick his followers in the teeth. He has learned to celebrate focused accomplishments, even when they were announced before his presidency, but for the most part, much of his presidency has been a mix of chaos and incompetence. The Washington Post has an article today about how early his transition went off the rails. Keith

  8. Note to Readers: I was pleased to see BMW, Mercedes, Hyundai and Allstate drop their ads with Fox and Bill O’Reilly’s show. We need to vote with our feet and pocketbooks not supporting places that turn a blind eye to sexual harassment.

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