As 2017 comes to a close, so do the careers and reputations of many powerful men after allegations of sexual misconduct have come to light. Now Today Show host Matt Lauer and NPR legend Garrison Keillor have joined their disgraced brethren of accused sexual predators. While many fans are shocked and saddened by the revelation that someone they admire has engaged in predatory behavior, some dismiss any claims as a… (wait for the hot buzz phrase!) “witch hunt”.
Well, if this is a witch hunt, just imagine me wearing a pointy hat and hopping on a broom. Call me a wicked witch seeking justice and accountability on behalf of courageous victims of sexual misconduct because the hunt is ON.
The culture of sexual misconduct has been tolerated and allegations have been dismissed for far too long. When a victim has been brave enough to tell their story, they’ve been ignored and doubted. Countless victims have been denied any form of justice and have only suffered further affliction when their own character and integrity is scrutinized.
While victims have endured negative consequences for simply sharing their stories, the alleged crimes of sexual predators are often forgiven and forgotten by the public. Predators have worn their positions of power like bulletproof vests while allegations of their transgressions have bounced off of them for years. Often the victims are not even given acknowledgment or PR-perfect apologies. They’ve just been ignored.
I certainly do appreciate that so many people have a newfound sense of wokeness and enlightenment in 2017. But, lest we not forget, way back in 2016, there was a powerful man who had a decades-long history of sexual misconduct and after a tape revealed him actually bragging about his little habit of routinely committing sexual assault, we not only ignored it, we digested this information and then elected him to our nation’s highest office.
Sexual misconduct is not new, but accountability for sexual predators in this capacity is. Refusing to tolerate sexual misconduct in a culture that has largely endorsed it is a big leap. I understand it is a difficult transition.
Some of these allegations have been shocking and deeply disappointing. At this rate, we may run out of Netflix programming. Members of all political parties have been culpable. Even the snoozefest on weekend public radio has been infected.
As disappointing as missing your beloved TV personality may be, please understand that your pain is incomparable to the complex feelings targets of sexual misconduct experience. I know it’s a real bummer to find out someone you thought you liked did terrible things while they weren’t entertaining you. But the victims of sexual misconduct matter more than your watchlist.
If you already feel daunted by the seemingly constant breaking headlines of more and more people disgraced by allegations of predatory behavior, I would recommend you find a way to get past that. Do some meditation yoga. Take some deep breaths. Do whatever you need to do to cope with the breaking news that yet another person is stepping down or has been terminated due to sexual misconduct allegations.
This is only the beginning. If you want it to end, the predatory behavior must end. We must continue to demand accountability. We must denounce behavior that is not acceptable. We all must change and do everything we can to foster a culture where people can lead successful careers and lives without the constant threat of sexual misconduct.
Don’t allow yourself to remain complicit and just dismiss this movement as a witch hunt. Be better... or I might just cast a spell on you.
This post originally appeared on fortheloveofwineandcoffee.com