By Vernon A. Williams
Face the bitter truth. Recent upsurge aside, America has little respect for women.
The evidence is so conspicuous that it’s painful to document. Among other things, society allows prominent, affluent, white convicted rapists to walk away from the scene of their crimes with probation – without even being named sexual predators. The same judicial system throws women into jail who use violence to fend off sexual abuse.
The disdain for American women runs deep, but it starts at the top.
The nation made a statement when it elected a man who has two dozen unresolved cases of inappropriate sexual misconduct, who paid off a stripper and nude model to conceal adulterous affairs shortly after his wife gave birth to their only son, who proudly boasts that he grabs women sexually and continuously insults them with reckless abandon.
In that infamous rise from being a reality TV star to the Oval Office, this man brought no resume of public, community, civic or military service – only a checkered past challenging his integrity. His politics of racism, xenophobia and misogyny won, over a female candidate who previously served as Secretary of State and in the U.S. Senate.
That 2016 debacle alone would be enough to confirm women’s shameful relegation to second-class citizenship in the U.S. but there is more. So much more.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Senate summarily dismissed sexual assault allegations brought against a nominee for the Supreme Court by several credible females and confirmed the candidate on the recommendation of an 11-man judiciary committee.
The president beamed over his successful nominee and subsequently apologized to the new justice for the inconvenience of having to defend his past behavior. Nobody blinked.
Yet, recently the media pretends that their concocted controversy over the song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” popularized in 1949, is a matter for critical discourse. In fact, the real conundrum, is media ignoring national sexual hypocrisy from the workplace to the White House.
The radio station that sent social media into a spin over the song has reconsidered its ridiculous ban but in the interim other stations have joined in the misguided pro- test of these rebels without a cause.
When the decision was made to snatch the song from the playlist, the rationale was that the lyrics implicated support for date-rape. It instantly became a “MeToo” thing. Penned by “Guy and Dolls” writer Frank Loesser in 1944, the song’s lyrics, worst case scenario, could be seen as suggestive.
If people were serious about the threat to women, they would instead focus on innumerable rock and rap recordings that are far more graphic – and influential because of their popularity. If people were serious, R. Kelly and his mess would be center stage.
But because the issue is a matter of media opportunists seizing low-hanging fruit rather than actually addressing a genuinely serious problem, the soft target choice will suffice as we soon see the entire discussion dissipate into that bottomless void commonly known as ‘yesterday’s news.’
Meanwhile, in Tennessee, 43-year-old former sex-slave Cyntoia Brown faces 51 years behind bars for a 2004 conviction in the shooting death of a Nashville man who solicited her for sex. After a troubled childhood, Ms. Brown was forced into sex.
Despite the circumstances of the tragedy, the woman – who happens to be Black – was tried as an adult. In a clemency hearing last May, the board was split on its recommendation to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, who is weighing whether to show mercy and release Ms. Brown prior to his leaving office in a few weeks.
At the other end of the spectrum, white privilege reigns in the matter of sex in America.
A Texas judge accepted a plea bargain deal in the case of a former Baylor University fraternity president who was accused of raping a young woman at a party in 2016. Instead of jail time, Jacob Anderson will get a three-year probation and fine on a lesser charge of unlawful restraint. Adding salt to the wound, the former Phi Delta Theta president won’t have to register as a sex offender.
Nothing needs to be added. If you don’t get the picture at this point, you’re just not trying and there is really nothing anyone can do to help. In the U.S., it’s pimps and rapists UP and women DOWN.
But don’t get comfortable. There is change in the air as 2019 nears. Real change.