Al Franken Hey You Keep Your Hands To Yourself



posted by alias outtacontext on Wednesday 29th of November 2017 04:50:11 PM

Sexual harassment is bad enough. But the power and control behind it make it an ongoing nightmare. Even after it's over, it's easy to blame ourselves—a mix of anger and self-doubt. Victims (and, yes, they are victims of predatory behavior) fear retaliation and, even more important, that no one will believe them. This is the silence that has protected abusers for decades. With revelations of Kevin Spacey's and Harvey Weinstein's serial abuse, the dam suddenly has given way. There is a new scarlet letter adorning the likes of Charlie Rose, Al Franken, Matt Lauer, ad nauseum. But, why now? To that we owe a debt of "gratitude" to Donald Trump. His unabashed misogyny, coupled with the blindness of his followers to his morality has unleashed a force, a strong feminist force in our culture. Millions of women and men around the world protested his behavior the day after Trump's inauguration. From that moment, women empowered with a shared experience (both the reality of sexual abuse as well as the gathering of like minds) vowed to take control of their lives. In addition, many men, not only supported them but took a stand against the patriarchy—the "good ole boy's club"—that has affected all of us. The swiftness of these changes is both empowering and scary. Groups formed to encourage women to speak out and to take power. Pantsuit Nation is full of testimonies by women who decided to run for office in their towns and cities. And, this fall, they won big. The backlash against men like Trump is intensifying. Finally, our Congress has been outed in the most profound way. In 1995, it enacted the Congressional Accountability Act (CAA). The law's impetus was to make members of Congress accountable to the very labor laws they passed (and had exempted themselves from). In addition, it addressed sexual harassment by legislators and staff. Until the CAA, there was absolutely no path for victims to seek redress. But, while the CAA offers the abused a way forward, the process is long and forces accusers to attend 30 days of counseling before moving to mediation. There is no counseling for the alleged perpetrator. And, most astounding, if a Congressman or staff is found guilty, settlements for that abuse are paid by taxpayers, not the abusers, whose identity is not made public. Over the past 20 years, the Office of Compliance has paid out over $17.2 million of taxpayers' money to settle 268 claims. One of the most hidden problems in American culture has finally reached the tipping point. For that, I thank thousands of women who found the courage and the fortitude to speak out, support others, seek political office, and, most importantly, take back control of their lives. Yet, a recent Politico poll shows that partisanship is still a deciding factor whether the public finds sexual harassment claims credible. While Democrats are more likely to believe these claims, whether the accused is a Democrat or Republican, Republicans are less like to believe them if they are leveled at a member of the GOP. This isn't over yet. It's time for the rest of us to take responsibility for the fear and manipulation men have used to control others. It's time to keep our hands to ourselves! See all the posters from the Chamomile Tea Party! Digital high res downloads are free here. Other options are available. And join our Facebook group.


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