Once again, a high profile male is in the spotlight due to allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been called upon to resign from office due to sexual harassment claims leveled by former employees.
According to The Griot, former adviser Lindsey Boylan, 36, said Cuomo made inappropriate comments on her appearance, joked about playing strip poker and once kissed her on the lips at the end of a meeting. Former aide, 25-year-old Charlotte Bennett, said Cuomo asked if she ever had sex with older men and made other comments she interpreted as gauging her interest in an affair.
Another former aide, Ana Liss, told The Wall Street Journal in a story published recently that when she worked as a policy aide to the governor between 2013 and 2015, Cuomo called her “sweetheart,” kissed her hand and asked personal questions including whether she had a boyfriend. Asked about Liss’ story at his news conference, Cuomo said such talk was “my way of doing friendly banter.”
Cuomo’s situation is one of the latest of the accusations made by women regarding improper sexual behavior. Other accusations of inappropriate sexual conduct have been leveled at the R & B singer R. Kelly, who is currently in jail, and former comedian and sitcom star Bill Cosby, who is currently serving time in prison for allegedly drugging and raping a woman.
These cases are just a drop in the proverbial bucket of a huge number of them. In fact, these accusations are so pervasive that almost every man in a position of power can become suspect. Even our current President, Joe Biden, has had fingers pointed at him based on his “affectionate” behavior.
One of the things that all of these cases have in common is that there is often a great deal of time, usually multiple years, between the alleged incidents and the victims’ reporting of the events. In addition, once a victim comes forth, there are usually a number of others who surface with allegations against the same individuals.
Predictably, people tend to blame the victims in these cases, demonstrating disbelief and disdain for those who make accusations because they waited so long to come forth.
Another common denominator in these cases is a reluctance on the part of a large segment of the population to believe that the males have misbehaved. This is one of the reasons female victims are slow to come forth. They become emboldened, however, when one person is brave enough to point a finger and, because of a strength in numbers, other alleged victims come out of the woodwork. This is a very predictable occurrence, yet critics sing the same old song of surprise and disbelief.
The number of people being accused of this despicable behavior seems to be on the rise. This is a bellwether portending a change in society.
Women are rising to prominence in many fields, and along with this comes a change in status. Whereas before, a woman’s place was said to be in the home, today a woman’s place is wherever she wants it to be, and that is changing social dynamics.
Let’s face it – maltreatment of women has been a dominant part of American culture, but today, since change is in the air, men are being caught up in anachronistic behavior that has tacitly been embraced by our culture. In other words, it is like they are caught up in a bubble of past values.
The behavior they exhibited was once accepted, but in today’s changing climate they are being forced to atone for what is no longer approved by today’s society. It is appropriate that change occurs.
But it is also ridiculous that men whose behavior in the past, the seemingly benign, obliquely flirtatious behavior that does not cross physical boundaries, should be judged differently, especially if there is an apology. This tendency of placing the past on trial should probably not result in the loss of current employment.
Make no mistake – bad behavior should not be tolerated! Rape culture hopefully is on its way out. We are at a crossroads wherein there is a reduced tolerance of bad behavior because of women who are coming forth today. They are the brave ones.
But let’s not get so caught up that a man can lose his job because of an off-handed compliment that was allegedly innocently given, back in the day when that behavior was the norm. A Luta Continua.