Sexual Abuse and Harassment: Where Is Our Moral Compass?

11/12/2017 04:17 pm ET
Woman screaming “no” through megaphone
Fotolia
Woman screaming “no” through megaphone

With all of the sexual abuse and sexual harassment stories in the media, our heads are spinning. Some in disbelief and all in pure disgust.

The abuse didn’t start with Harvey Weinstein. His insidious treatment of actors just came to the forefront. And it’s bringing the entertainment world to its knees.

We’ve all heard stories about the casting couch and now we are hearing testimonies of beloved actresses and actors saying reporting their abuse from Weinstein and other entertainment industry notables.

The proverbial “good old boys club” is no longer going to be able to use their power. Today women are more aware and smarter.

And the #METOO campaign has brought forth women and men from all walks of life all over the country talking about their abuse and harassment.

It’s understandable that actresses and actors didn’t step up years ago for fear they would never work. And some were sexually assaulted. Talking about sexual assault is not only painful, but the victim feels shame for letting it happen, when in reality it wasn’t their fault.

And it’s not just the entertainment industry. Reports of Judge Roy Moore allege that he dated teenage girls when he was 32 years of age. A former deputy district attorney whom Moore worked with suspected that Moore was dating teenage girls (and I use that word “dating” loosely) because it completely angers me.

Adult men do not date teenagers. They abuse and molest them. They groom young girls and boys into thinking that nothing is wrong and their usual MO is to tell the youths that if they tell anyone, they will kill them or kill someone in their family.

And those who stand by and say nothing are just as guilty. It is unconscionable that a deputy district attorney did not report the suspected abuse if he indeed suspected it.

America’s children suffer from a hidden epidemic. Every year over 3 million children are victims of violence and neglect, and those are only the ones that are reported. Because this epidemic is so under-reported, the actual number of children being harmed is 3 times greater.

Sexual abuse and exploitation of a child is child abuse and it’s a crime! So is raping another adult.

For children and adults, every 98 seconds a person is sexually assaulted in the U.S. Sadly, only 6 out of every 1000 perpetrators will end up in prison.

According to RAIIN, women ages 18-24 both in and out of college are at an elevated risk of sexual violence.

This abuse and harassment is an imbalance of power. Whether it is work related or the abuse of a child, it is unwanted and unwelcomed.

For anyone who thinks that sexual harassment is just locker room talk, or jokes by comedians, they are wrong and so is the harassment. No one should be made to feel uncomfortable by anyone’s verbal sexual advances. It is degrading and demoralizing.

When others stand by and say or do nothing, they are a part of the problem.

Rather than being part of the problem, we must all stand up and be part of the solution. Speak up! Report abuse even if it’s only suspected. You could be saving someone’s life, and their emotional and physical well-being.

Don’t stay silent because these abusers may be your friends or allies. Don’t stay silent at all. Use your moral compass and do the right thing! Be the solution!

Men in power and even women think they are protected by their power, fame and money. This is no longer true. With the exception of children who sadly have no voice, we as adults can use ours.

Like the lyrics to Katy Perry’s song ‘Roar’

Shout it out loud …

“I got the eye of the tiger, a fighter dancing through the fire, 'Cause I am the champion, and you're gonna hear me roar!”

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