Let’s Talk About Sexual Harassment

in Columnist: Samuel Krueger by
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Men, just stop it.

By Samuel Krueger

The current, unprecedented explosion of sexual assault accusations going on has thoroughly rattled me. It has become apparent that common decency is under attack in America. The honor of our highest, most respected institutions like congress is being eroded. Hollywood is falling apart as these “open secrets” are now being treated for what they are, serious accusations of sexual misconduct, one of the most heinous things a person can do.

Starting with the Harvey Weinstein accusations all the way up to the hours I am writing this article, people in power are being called out for past injustices. In addition to the issues in Hollywood, CNN reported that since 1997 Congress has paid out over 17 million dollars in sexual misconduct settlements against their own members and staff. Senator Al Franken seems to have weathered the storm after multiple women have accused him of sexual assault.

Decent men need to come forward and make a conscious effort to not respect a man who disrespects women.

One of the women even had photographic evidence, which is far more than most people have to corroborate their story. In addition to this evidence, he has not denied the accusations. Representative John Conyers is facing similar accusations.

This isn’t isolated in the federal government either. Just last week Minnesota State Representative Tony Cornish (R Vernon Center) and State Senator Dan Schoen (DFL 54) both resigned from their positions in part for harassing the same person. As someone who has worked in the State Capitol, it hurts me to realize that people who had my trust and respect could do such things.

We cannot let politics get in the way of combating a tainted culture that allows for sexual assaults to occur and prevents sexual predators from being punished. Carly Fiorina, my first choice for president in 2016, said it best in her Fox news interview. She talks about the current system in Congress that makes it nearly impossible to come forward about misconduct. She claims that there needs to be a “watershed moment.” Decent men need to come forward and make a conscious effort to not respect a man who disrespects women.

Franken refusing to resign is like Trump’s reluctant support for Roy Moore. All they care about is a vote in the Senate. With the Senate being split with 52 seated Republicans and 48 Democrats, every vote matters.  If Trump tells Moore to step down, Republicans may lose the seat. If Franken steps down, the Minnesota GOP will likely pick up his seat. This is about power, not justice.

This leads me to my first and only point.

Stop it.

When I was five years old, I knew that grabbing people without asking was not okay. When I was in middle school, I had enough common sense to read basic social cues. Today, as a 20 year old, I feel like I have enough sense to think about much of what I do before I do it. I at least try to envision the possible consequences of my actions. It seems as though some of our leaders and celebrities do not have these same intuitions that most decent people learn so young.

When people are in positions of power, their power threatens potential accusers. Accusing your boss of legitimate sexual harassment is stigmatized as if it was the same as pointing your middle finger up at their face for no reason. Both can get you fired. This is how power shields criminals from justice.

I have a sister. She is one of my best friends and closest allies in life. I respect her so much for all that she is as a sister, a daughter, a wife and a friend. I realize that I can’t actually respect her if I don’t respect all women.

Men really do need a “watershed moment” if we actually care about the women and girls around us.

 

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