LitaWrites (real_lawyer) wrote,

Tossed Salad Friday

~~ Every time a sexual predator is in the news, I reflect for a moment on my own history with a harasser (I suspect countless numbers of people do as well). What wounds is not just being the object of a creep or criminal, but hearing people not involved leap to the predator’s defense. How many people excused the PUS’ admission to uninvited groping? How many sprang to the defense of O’Reilly?

We all have our scars. But there’s a difference between the wounds that we self-inflict through youth, carelessness, indifference, or recklessness, and the gashes perpetrated by others. Victims of abuse walk around with bowed shoulders, heavy hearts, and/or queasiness in their stomachs through no fault of their own. No matter how it’s compartmentalized, marginalized, and therapized away, the flash of a news item can bring mental anguish and physical pain back to the forefront.

I count myself as fortunate among the millions of victims. I wasn’t a child and I wasn’t physically harmed. However, my ability to earn a living was coiled around granting sexual favors to the general manager of a cable station. The quid pro quo was laid out for me in no uncertain terms — You sleep with me and you’ll get more money and more opportunities. You don’t and you’ll be sorry.

Despite repeated entreaties, violations of personal space, and a lot of grabbing that required me to twist, duck, and jump away, I didn’t sleep with the creep. I left and went to law school.

Could I have done more? Should I have done more? Do I regret not doing more? Sure to all. I didn’t report him; I didn’t actually know who to speak to or if I’d have any recourse (this was in the 1970s). I hope he never harassed another employee, but I have my doubts. He was a worm and worms crawl.

There are not enough drugs or showers to erase the malaise that targets of predators suffer. That’s why I have zero concern about the severity of penalties leveled against predatory priests, doctors, managers, cable hosts, or former reality show hosts who abuse and harass. However, I am distressed about how others who fell prey to the predators feel when they hear powerful men supported, even lauded, while their horrible deeds are denied or dismissed.

If you’re being harassed or abused, tell someone and accept help. If you’re not involved, lend a hand, take a stand in support, or shut the hell up. Abuse and harassment aren’t spectator sports — you don’t get a choice about rooting for one side against the other.

Dasvidaniya. Have a good weekend.
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