Mary’s Musings

Wielding power over the vulnerable

Posted:  Wednesday, November 29, 2017 - 8:45am

Sexual misconduct is front and center these days.We get daily updates on the latest to be accused, as victim after victim steps forward to tell his or her tale. Many of the alleged incidents occurred years ago.

It’s hard to understand why so many men feel the need to demonstrate their masculinity by advertising their sexual attributes. It’s especially disturbing that they often choose to “prove’’ their manhood by coming on to females much younger than they are.

For years, we’ve found it amusing to see old men, many of them well-known, especially in the entertainment industry, with very young wives or girlfriends. We’ve often wanted to ask them if they have looked in the mirror lately. While these young women have obviously chosen to become companions of much older men (It couldn’t be for their money rather than their sex appeal, could it?) it does demonstrate that some men feel compelled to prove to themselves that younger women find them attractive. When men force their affections on young girls, however, it’s reprehensible. Other than traumatizing them, we can’t help but wonder if these young girls are thinking to themselves, “Does he really think he appeals to me?’’ Unfortunately, some men believe just that.

These recent accusations by women who are coming forward to report incidents in which well-known men made sexual advances and in some instances committed sexual assaults, represent just the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of women have been intimidated by men in power, be it a celebrity, a political leader, a boss, or someone else with an advantage of some sort who felt a young girl might not dare say no, or would be so overcome with being “chosen’’ that she’d succumb. Often it’s someone the girl respects, even a relative or friend.

It’s not always young women who are victims; young boys also are targeted. Again, we often don’t know about many of these incidents until years later, when victims feel comfortable sharing their stories.Sadly, our country is full of young men and women who have endured unspeakable crimes at the hands of adults they trusted.

The millions of men in this world who experience healthy sexual relationships must find it equally as hard to understand the aggressive behavior of those making the headlines these days. We can’t begin to fathom how many stories are hidden away and may never become public.

The attention being focused today on sexual misconduct will hopefully have an impact on those who have already been publicly accused, those who are guilty of similar acts but haven’t been caught, and those who may be tempted in the future.

Sex should be a beautiful, meaningful interaction between consenting adults. It should never be an act which traumatizes vulnerable young girls and boys.