This is the fourth entry in the Let’s Talk Flirting, Sex, and Healthy Relationships series. The first three topics of how to flirt in a respectable manner, how to support sexual misconduct survivors, and enjoying sex without sexually harassing are available exclusively on Only The Brand Survives.
With mounting allegations of sexual misconduct against sitting United States Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Senate candidate Roy Moore (R-AL) – where each has admitted to wrongdoing, there has been a disturbing reaction from individuals supportive of the two politicians.
While Franken has not outright denied his actions, and Moore seems to be hiding behind seeking parental consent for approaching teenage girls sexually (while outright denying sexual assault claims), they both face accusations of misconduct from more than one individual – showing a pattern of inappropriate behavior.
However, the recent conversation surrounding both has unfortunately fallen on partisan lines. Conspiracy theorists defending Al Franken completely ignore or cherry pick his apology after the first allegation of misconduct against him by Leeann Tweeden. Some go as far to “sex-shaming” Tweeden, due to her time spent as a bikini model or referencing her political beliefs as a reason to discount the credibility of her claims.
On the other hand, many are defending Roy Moore despite his alleged predatory behavior against teenage girls has been rumored for decades in Alabama. Sadly, many continue to defend Moore and attack his accusers – with full knowledge of Moore accepting most of the claims put forth.
This Shouldn’t Be Difficult
Unfortunately, this needs to be said about the current landscape of society. At no point in time should we as a collective defend sexual misconduct because we are fans of the accused. Whether they are an actor, comedian, musician, or politician – that does not make them any less responsible for their actions. Especially, after they admit to a number of improprieties.
That should even need to be said. It’s honestly that simple if that doesn’t resonate – one should attempt some introspection.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) reports that there are over 321,000 incidents of rape and sexual assault each year in the United States alone. This figure doesn’t account for cases of sexual harassment, meaning that there is a major problem that needs addressing. Of note, there is no data suggesting (nor is it logical to believe) that an individual’s self-determined political ideology makes them incapable of committing or being a victim of sexual misconduct.
Again, it’s disappointing that inherent truth even needs to be stated. Sadly, blaming victims for what has happened to them isn’t isolated to one specific ideology. However, those that take part in such behavior can never truly claim to care about all survivors of sexual misconduct or violence – just those they agree with on a number of issues.
What This Says About Society
Those taking part in this behavior are hiding behind legal jargon to excuse their behavior – while ignoring numerous admissions of guilt, are not being intellectually honest. In the cases of Franken and Moore, there are not calls for jailing either based on the allegations. The United States has criminal court for things of that manner, yet some are not willing to put the responsibility on either for their actions – which the parties have admitted.
This is problematic for the future surrounding victims of sexual misconduct coming forward, as they will have to endure a slew of personal attacks. While fact-finding missions are important, at no point should those coming forward be treated as liars, until they are proven to have actually lied.
Does that mean in cases where the accused denies any wrongdoing they should be treated as guilty?
Of course not, yet so many are willing to bypass admissions, evidence, and patterns of wrongdoing in order to be loyal to a political party instead of sexual misconduct victims, which is the most unfortunate aspect of the entire situation.
How We Can Improve
Removing emotion and personal/political biases out of situations like these are important for society to improve. It doesn’t matter how much good a person has done in other aspects of life, if they admit to sexual misconduct they should be held responsible for those actions – period.
If they deny an accusation, then fact-finding efforts should take place before individuals are presumed to be serial abusers. Numerous other entertainers and politicians will likely be confronted with accusations, and if they are shown to be guilty after review – they should not be shielded by legions of fans that ignore facts, denounce empathy, and blame victims who had to endure abuse.
About The Contributor
Walter Yeates is a journalist throughout his young career he has published hundreds of articles in the realms of entertainment, news, and sports. He is currently working on several novels, screenplays, and an ebook as well. His Twitter handle is @GentlemansHall (Journalism) and @TheRealSmoothG (Sports).
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