As the drama of the Cain campaign unfolds, I am reminded once again of how women seem to always be caught in the middle of having to defend themselves from unwanted advances. Cliches that were supposed to be long dead have reared their ugly heads again. TPM has a wonderful article about this.
Herman Cain’s allies seem intent on tying his sexual harassment scandal to the most famous case of inappropriate workplace behavior in American history, the saga of Clarence Thomas.
And in one unexpected way, they’ve already succeeded: much of the right wing is now pulling the dust cloths off the same old criticisms of the very concept of sexual harassment that they’ve kept in storage since the ’90s. Namely, that the behavior is often harmless fun and women really need to lighten up already.
Advocates of women’s rights are noticing.
NOW Vice President for Action Erin Matson said what she’s heard coming from the right in the two days since the Cain story broke has been “disheartening.”
"(There’s a) strain of blaming and shaming women and calling them crazy," she said.
It's disheartening to say the very least, that some of the people defending whatever it is that Herman Cain did as something that is in the eye of the beholder, are female conservative commentators.
There is a real problem with this. The problem is that harassment, be it sexual or otherwise, is NOT
a consensual act. It is a form of bullying and humiliation.
You will recall during the Clarence Thomas hearings
there was a coordinated effort to make Ms. Hill the harasser instead of the harassed. As Clarence Thomas put it: "It was a high tech lynching" -- This was what he said:
This is not an opportunity to talk about difficult matters privately or in a closed environment. This is a circus. It's a national disgrace. And from my standpoint, as a black American, it is a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves, to do for themselves, to have different ideas, and it is a message that unless you kowtow to an old order, this is what will happen to you. You will be lynched, destroyed, caricatured by a committee of the U.S. Senate rather than hung from a tree.
In other words, his actions weren't the real problem -- politics were. Ms. Hill was just collateral damage. The goal was to get a seat on the Supreme Court -- in his line of thinking, his actions previously should never have been an issue to him and his supporters. When the issue was brought up, Anita Hill had to relive the entire harassment situation again -- only this time in public at a Senate hearing. She experienced it firsthand, and then had to verbally experience it again. I'm sure the women who were paid off are experiencing there own memories again. I can't imagine it is pleasant.
Mr. Cain appears to be using the Clarence Thomas line of defense as well. He has stated that these allegations are being used to silence him. He is now blaming people for the leak.
He, like Clarence Thomas, are more upset they got caught. There appears to be little remorse for what they did to women. Cain's allies and supporters are doing the very same thing; They are using the victim again
, only this time it's the reason for Mr. Cain's political problems.
And that is why I have a problem with this situation called sexual harassment. No one is silencing Mr. Cain. Mr. Cain is not a victim of a political smear. There is no conspiracy. He did something bad enough to make sure at least 2 women were paid to go away, with possibly a third who chooses to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation. As of the writing of this blog, there are more details being revealed. Simply put: He got caught. In Mr. Cain's situation, there were no legal charges, and no judicial trial. Someone cut a check to make the problem go away. It was after all only a little sexual harassment
, it wasn't rape or anything, right? However, what if it was? What if there was evidence under our legal system that may constitute charges being brought up? Wouldn't we want him brought in for questioning? Wouldn't we want to know the truth? I would venture to guess you would agree with me in saying yes.
Please remember that when you see people claiming that Julian Assange is the victim of a political smear or a conspiracy to silence him. If he is innocent or guilty -- he should face the people who want to question him. I do not take rape charges lightly. It's sexual harassment. While we don't have the same judicial system or laws as Sweden, Mr. Assange should answer questions in accordance to the laws of the country in which this allegedly happened. I know that many people support Wikileaks, and I'm ok with that. I do have a problem with the people that want Cain to face the music and don't seem to want to hold Mr. Assange to those same standards.
Sadly, some sound very similar to the conservatives who are defending Herman Cain's actions towards women.