All Fall Down
Today Al Franken announced that he is retiring from his U.S. Senate Seat “in the coming weeks.”
There is a running list of all the men who have had abuse and/or harassment charges or complaints levied against them — although it has not been well updated, in part due to how fast the new cycle has been moving on this subject.
Consent violations are serious. Harassment is serious. Abuse is serious. Assault is serious. Rape is serious.
It’s about time we started seeing these subjects truly be taken seriously, although the fact that Hollywood and the Democratic Party seem to be the only parties actually doing so is still disconcerting. Trump admitted on tape to violating countless women, yet won the Election a year ago. Disgraced judge Roy Moore — who has been removed from the bench twice — is in a surprisingly close race for a Senate Seat from Alabama despite the fact that at least 9 women have com forward with convincing claims (and in some cases convincing evidence) that Moore sexually harassed or assaulted them when each of these women were teenagers, many below the legal age of consent in Alabama (16) at the time.
Why is it that the Republican Party, which heralds itself as “The Party of Family Values”, embraces this repugnant behavior?
When I was younger and being raised in states within the Southeastern United States, the running rhetoric at school and at church was that the Democratic Party was the party of social and sexual deviants, who wanted to seduce teenagers into cults in which all moral barriers would be destroyed. The understanding was that Democrats were Atheists, that Atheists have no moral values (and are, indeed, effectively worshippers of Satan using a more polite term) and thus hold nothing sacred, especially not women and children. The social understanding was that only the God-Loving, God-Fearing, Conservative status held by the Republican Party could lead this country into the proper ways of upholding itself.
What we have seen over this past year is that everybody who gets into a position of authority or power and has any kind of abusive tendencies will magnify the abhorrent parts of their personality in a way that causes harm, and that the Republican Party is just as much, if nor more so, guilty of this an any other demographic group out there. Trump himself has been accused of rape multiple times, with one victim claiming to have been 13 at the time, but he won the election nonetheless.
Still, we appear to be in the middle of a movement. Men are being held accountable for actions that would have previously been dismissed or overlooked. Victims are gaining more ground in the struggle against their oppression and against their oppressors. Abuse is being called out. Men are losing their jobs, and with it their power.
As we watch this movement continue, we need to extend it. Within the BDMS community, within the LGBTQIA+ community, within our neighborhoods and schools and churches, there are people who seek out victims. We need to all remain vigilant. We need to stand up, not only for ourselves, but also for those who lack the means to do so for themselves. If you’re at a party and you see somebody cornering another person who looks distressed, step in and offer a way out. If you see consent violations at a play party, help the victim and inform the host. If you are the host, have a response plan in place that removes the abuser from the premises without drawing unwanted attention to the victim. Teach your children, starting as early as they can walk, that nobody has a right to their bodies and they don’t have a right to anybody else’s.
Teach respect. Teach consideration. Teach enthusiastic consent, and power dynamics, and non-verbal cues.
The abusers in power may be falling down, but we’ll only replace them with more abusers if we don’t stop feeding the pipeline.
Stay SINful, friends.