Sexist and Misogynist Acts

First, misogynist and sexist acts, whether they are casual or reach the level of sexual harassment or assault, are wrong and exposure is just.  I believe this is especially true when it is ongoing.

However, many years later, if the man (usually) has corrected his behavior, should his entire life and/or career be forfeit?  If the actions occurred in a climate that normalized or even encouraged the behavior, should he be the only one exposed and punished?

I think the company or industry (entertainment, for example) and those executives have as much or more responsibility.  I also think egregious cases and cases where the perpetrator’s public persona directly opposes his actual acts, should have heavier consequences (i.e. Bill Cosby).  I believe the victims must be believed, acknowledged and compensated.  Sometimes a sincere apology is enough though, especially when that is the victim’s opinion.  (Al Franken and SNL is an example.)

Systemic and cultural enabling, especially by those who see but do not speak and those who minimize and do not act, needs to end.  Minimizing and denigrating someone in order to feel powerful is the root cause.  The story needs to change:  Instead of calling the lifestyle of the victim into question, scrutinize the perpetrator and label them as weak and ineffectual.  The perpetrator who feels powerful demeaning others should share their experience.

I realize my opinion is controversal.  My biggest problem with the philosophy (versus the implementation) of Christianity is the idea that serial killer you saying “sorry” on your deathbed gets you into Heaven while your ethical life sends you to Hell if you aren’t Christian.  I don’t believe an apology without true change is mitigating in any way.  However, if someone acknowledges his or her mistakes, changes their behavior and makes whatever amends they can; what should happen?  Should they be prevented from doing good now because they stumbled in the past?


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