Wednesday wanderings and walkabouts

With the no specific topic in mind, let’s put on our hiking shoes on this cool fall day and wander outside. Our Australian friends have a more earnest term of “walkabout,” so let’s walkabout and ponder as we stroll through a forest or path hopefully with a friend, given the stories below. If your significant other cares to join you, even better. Holding hands is optional but recommended.

In no particular order, here are a few items to ponder.

One of the things I have discovered is politicians and their staff members really like it when you call them and thank them for positive or courageous actions. Representative Nancy Mace, a South Carolina Republican, is getting flak from a member of her tribe for calling said person out for bigoted and mean-spirited remarks toward another congressional representative. I called and complimented Mace on doing the right thing and her political courage. We need more of that in Congress and in her party and less of the mean-spirited name calling and bullying.

I read yesterday the North Carolina School of the Arts, a high school for talented young artists, has now increased the number of plaintiffs to 41 accusing the school of allowing sexual misconduct occur. This school has failed to learn the lesson that groups like the Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, Penn State University, Michigan State University, US Women’s Gymnastics, Ohio State University, the US Military, et al. have failed to learn. The victims, not the institutional brand, matter the most. And, by focusing on the victims and bringing the alleged predators to justice, the institutional brand will actually be helped not harmed. Doing the right thing matters.

Unfortunately, I am aware of a couple of folks I know who have been victims of sexual assault. It makes you angry that this can happen. My advice to any person on a college campus or in a large organization, if you are sexually assaulted, do not go to the campus or security officials of the organization Call the police. You will be better served if you go to an entity that is not involved with the institution who will try to protects its brand first and foremost. As for college students, I would suggest young women not let anyone handle their drink, drink judicially and go to parties with a friend. Be in control of your destiny. When testosterone, alcohol and groups are mixed together, a woman’s best interest may not be top of mind.

Putting these stories together, I admire courageous and egalitarian leaders, especially women who exhibit these traits in the face of more adversity than a man faces. I also believe women must be extra vigilant in a world that continues to prey upon them. There are too many men like Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes et al out there who have used their positions of power to force themselves on women, whether it is a major retail store manager or a plant manager in a small town. These local managers who prey on women workers are far more prevalent as they control the hiring and scheduling.

It is hard, but it can be done. And, it may affect your income, which makes it harder. Women should not let any man or woman in power take advantage of them or others. I saw two stories this weekend on CBS Sunday Morning News that are telling. The actress Rita Moreno says she was raped by her agent when she was a teenager. Back in the early 1950s, she said she had no voice as a young Latina American and no one would do anything about it, so she did not even try. The other story is of the rock-n-roll singer Pat Benatar who said radio people in the early 1980s said if she slept with them her record would get played. She told them to go screw themselves.

We cannot expect all women to be as feisty as Pat Benatar and many still feel constrained like Rita Moreno did as a Latina American, but we men and women should be advocates for all women who are being pressured. And, we should applaud courage when we see it, whether it is political or personal courage.

19 thoughts on “Wednesday wanderings and walkabouts

  1. Most women are well aware of the dangers out there. My own daughters were drugged at bar, even though they watched each others drinks. Someone had tipped the bartender to “add” to their drinks. Fortunately, a good Samaritan intervened and got them home safely. We need to be addressing the men – grown and growing – about the importance of honouring and respecting women over their own lustful needs.

    • VJ, I am so sorry your daughters were put through that, but thank goodness someone intervened. You are so right about men and women calling these jerks and predators on the carpet. Keith

  2. I agree, Keith. I think women, who stand up for themselves, for their rights and the rights of (any) others maybe even more determined, courageous, and therefore convinced about their actions. I honor them for their strength.

    • Agreed. This is why the trial against Ghislaine Maxwell is important. She abused the trust of girls to get consorts for Jeffrey Epstein. Women must stand up for themselves and each other. Keith

      • Yes, when even a woman supported such terrible “arrangements” the others need to distance even more and also stand up even more for themselves. A very difficult situation, most of all for the first one to get the ball rolling.

  3. Note to Readers: The actress Rosanna Arquette deserves a shout out as well. She shunned the unwelcome advances of Harvey Weinstein and as she was riding down in the elevator from Weinstein’s room, she realized her career was over. That is the power wielded by sexual predators like Weinstein.

  4. Note to Readers II: Speaking up is key, but it is also important for leaders to do something about it. All of the institutions I listed in the above had leaders who were made aware of sexual misconduct and tried to cover it up. How many more victims were harmed because of this failure of leadership? If you want to see a movie that highlight an example of this, watch the documentary “Mea Maxima Culpa” about the Catholic Church and a priest molesting deaf boys at a school.

  5. Any advice for the ones molested by their dad? And who realize after growing up that the mom, who could hear one of us roll over in bed just ignored it all? We couldn’t even go to the parish priest, himself a molester but not interested in little girls.
    Geez, my ankle must have roamed up to my brain. This is something my sisters and I talked about after we were all out of the place, and something I threw in my mother’s face one of the times she told me how much she never wanted me. I’m thinking a pain pill for the ankle is needed right now, and then a hobble to lock my door for the night. sorry bout putting this in here. Hopefully I’ll delete it before I get to send!

    • Angie, I am so sorry you went through this horrible ordeal. I cannot think of a greater betrayal than to be abused by your father. And, it being compounded by a silent mother is horrible. I feel your pain. Should your mother have kicked him out – yes. Should she have called the police – yes. Keith

      • Guess I must have hit the send button. There were a lot of things they should have done but back in the late ’50’s how many people would have believed it? Now I’m trying to come up with the courage to write all about it. As far as I know there are no readers from my family who will ever see it. I learned a lot of things over the years, but I think the one I use the most is the gift of laughter at whatever comes at me. When that leaves it seems that all is lost. And I am NOT

      • Angie, if you would prefer me to delete your comments and mine in return after second thoughts, please let me know. Your story is powerful and telling, but I will follow your lead. Keith

    • Thanks Cindy. I think we men need to do everything we can to speak out against those who abuse women, sexually, physically or psychologically. And, we must support women who have the courage to speak out as society indicts their character them when they do. Keith

  6. Education is fine and it is right that women should protest.
    What is also needed is a male powered movement which constantly degrades sexual predators and denigrators as being less than men. Some of the accusations and language used may be ugly, and I could see conflict with groups such as Incel. But the condemnation by your own peer group could be a powerful tool in what is essentially a propaganda battle.
    A sustained nationwide strike by women using bars and instead socially gathering in safe places would also cause the big companies to take note (a punch in profits always counts)

    • Roger, agreed. I like your strike idea. As for speaking out, remember how the former president called his being recorded saying things about grabbing women by their private parts because his power permitted him as “locker room talk” We needed more men to step up and say we do not speak of sexual assault in locker rooms.

      By the way, the women testifying against Ghislaine Maxwell in court yesterday, said under oath she was introduced to both Donald Trump and Prince Andrew when she was only fourteen. She did not make any accusations, but one has to think why would a party hosted by convicted felon Jeffrey Epstein and Maxwell have a fourteen year-old girl in the same area as adult powerful men. Keith

      • One wonders how some of these locker room talk persons would feel about being grabbed by their private parts by a large gay fellow and his friends.
        Or some fellow in the summertime walk along in shorts and a t-shirt being hauled into an alley and the comment being ‘Well dressed like that he was asking for it. Wasn’t he?’

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