In Puritan America, a married woman’s illicit affair with a minister landed her in jail. After her release, Hester Prynne was sentenced to forever wear a big red “A” on her dress. 

Nearly 375 years later, the U.S. continues to be scandalized, tantalized and perplexed by sex, especially about sex offenders. Tough on crime, we’re still struggling to learn: 

  • Why domestic violence and incest are so under-reported by victims? 
  • Why most people think every sexual offender is a serial rapist? 
  • Why, even among therapists, many continue to believe sex-offenders to be untreatable? 
  • Why supervision after offenders’ release tends to-wards punitive rather than restorative? 

It’s time to bring the subject of sex crime out of the dark ages, time to help victims shed the shame and trauma of their experience. It’s also time to allow offenders an opportunity to show they can change, make amends and start to earn back trust and acceptance from society.

#MeToo Campaign is on the Right Track...except for the Ending!

#MeToo Campaign is on the Right Track...except for the Ending!

The multitude of women stepping forward to talk publicly about sexual assaults they have endured over past decades is refreshing. Shining light on male privilege and the power that men exert in the workplace to get their sexual gratification is way overdue.

Two things stand out about this, however, that bear further review. First, how successful will women be if the men they are reporting happen to be in a company that isn't a Fortune 500 member, if the perpetrator is not a wealthy, prominent media figure like Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, or a prominent politician like John Conyers or Al Franken? It's less likely to be a news story, hence it's less likely the women will risk exposure of the sexual harassment and assaults.

The other thing is the way in which these cases are being "judged" in the media and the public. The news hits, then the perpetrator quickly quits or gets fired. Sometimes, the media company or US government pay damages to the victim to keep it quiet. More often, the perpetrator is also paid handsomely to disappear quickly.

What is missing? First, there is no meaningful explanation from the offender, no face to face with the victim. A week later, Harvey Weinstein and Charley Rose and the rest are gone, embarrassed perhaps but their wealth insulates them from further rebuke. There is no courtroom trial, no calling the person to account for their behavior.

Finally, and perhaps as important as all that  precedes, is that the company or agency that has protected such crimes, does nothing to show their resolve to change the culture! Why not have Bill O'Reilly and Matt Lauer stay at the networks that paid them fabulously? Why not have them dedicate a major part of their ongoing salary for victim support  efforts? Why not use their exhaustive audience following to own up to their misdeeds? Why not bring the victims on such programs to face the offender, and discuss the predatory nature of male-dominated workplaces?

Having more media attention and a more thoughtful discussion about the specific acts of violence is the beginning. Next will be to hold corporations and other organizations' feet to the fire on an enforceable pledge to protect future generations of women from the same vicious cycle of criminal sex abuse.

A Year at the Post

A Year at the Post

Gruesome and Tragic. No Rest for the Wicked or Those They Victimize!