Tag Archives: sexual harassment

Joe Biden and the Sexual Assault Accusation: A Double Standard?

As the #Metoo movement forces our society to face our sexual assault and sexual harassment demons, it has revealed how both complicated and simple the subject is.

In 2017, former Democratic Senator Al Franken was accused of sexual harassment. The result of the accusations was swift and decisive. Franken resigned from the Senate after receiving pressure from female colleagues. Back in 2016, as that year’s election was heating up, you know who, who was then the Republican nominee was himself accused multiple acts of a similar nature.

As of today, it looks like former Vice President Joe Biden has all but sewn up that he will be the Democratic nominee come the fall. In an effort to capture the attention and the vote of American women, he has announced that his pick for Vice President would be a woman. Since that announcement, speculation of who he would choose has been rampant.

But now there is a chink in the armor. Tara Reade, a former congressional aide, accused the former Vice President of assaulting her when she worked for him in the early ’90s.

This is not the first time these kinds of accusations have been leveled against him.

The question is now, how will the Democratic leadership and voters respond? And more importantly, how will they deal with the claim of double standard from the right?

The simple answer is that sexual assault and sexual harassment is wrong and should be punished, no matter who is responsible. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. That being said, given how complicated American politics is these days, the answer to how this resolved will not be easy to obtain.

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Grantchester Character Review: Cathy Keating

This will be my last Grantchester character review post. The next group of characters I will be reviewing is…you’ll have to wait until next week.

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series GrantchesterRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

It was not that long ago that a woman’s choice in life was not a choice at all. She had to marry, bring children into the world, take care of her home and support her husband. Career and professional opportunities were limited at best and nonexistent at worst.

On Grantchester, Cathy Keating (Kacey Ainsworth) has always been her husband Geordie’s, (Robson Green) cheerleader. But that does not mean that her marriage has always been sunshine and roses.

Taking care of her children while Geordie is out solving crimes is not easy. Then there was her husband’s affair, which as one might expect, does not go over well. When we last saw Cathy, she had a job working in a local department store. Though it provided the additional income and the purpose she was looking for, the job also came with an unwanted downside.

Anthony Hobbs (Christian McKay) may appear to be charming and gentleman like, but appearances are deceiving. Anthony sees his female colleagues as his personal harem. When they are not so quick to give him what he is asking for, he is not above using less than moral means to get what he wants. Cathy is no different than any other female employee in the company. Instead of giving Anthony what he wants, she finds a way to ensure that his interactions with the female staff as professional and appropriate.

Starts at 3:18

To sum it up: Cathy Keating, as a character, is both a woman of her era and thoroughly modern. Though she comes from a time in which the expectations of a woman were rigid, she is still eager to spread her wings. In her situation, other women might have folded or returned to their previous roles. But Cathy stood her ground and came out stronger for it.

That is why she is a memorable character.

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Cry Those Crocodile Tears, Harvey Weinstein

After a millennia of women being viewed merely as sexual beings to be used for men’s pleasure, things are finally starting to change for the better.

Former Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein was sentenced to 23 years in prison on Wednesday.

He can cry all of the crocodile tears he wants. He knows what he did. He knows that he forced himself on those women, dangling career prospects and make all sorts of threats if they did not give into him.

Cry those crocodile tears all you want, Harvey Weinstein. Your going to rot in jail.

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Justice NOT Served: Harvey Weinstein and the Houston Astros

When we are children, we are taught right from wrong. We are taught that cheating and stealing is not the way to succeed. We are also (hopefully) taught that when we get to an age in which we start dating, that we respect the romantic and sexual boundaries of our partners.

The verdict in the Harvey Weinstein trial was delivered today. Of the five counts of rape and sexual assault, he was found guilty of the lesser counts. The three higher counts, which would have put him away for the rest of his natural life, he was found not guilty of.

In my opinion, justice was not served. He may get somewhere from five to twenty five years in jail, but that is not enough. It will never be enough. Even if he gets the maximum sentence possible, it does not compare to the emotional jails that the women he forced himself on will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

When the Houston Astros when the World Series in 2017, it was a time to rejoice. After the destruction that Hurricane Harvey left in it’s wake, the city, the team and the fans needed something to put a smile on their faces. Recently, it was revealed that the team cheated by stealing signs.

Winning the World Series is not something that is done easily. I can only imagine the blood, the sweat and the tears that it takes to be within reach of the title of “World Series Champions”. It dishonors the fans, the league and every other team that worked their butts off who could have only wished to have played in World Series. It’s not enough to have fired management. The team should be forced to give back their rings, their trophy, their substantial pay raises and forfeit their win.

It has been said that justice is blind. In the cases of Harvey Weinstein and Houston Astros, she was also deaf, dumb and somewhere else.

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Cry Me a River, Harvey Weinstein

Sexual assault and sexual harassment, especially in the workplace, is sadly nothing new.

When the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse scandal hit the press two years ago, it was nothing short of earth-shattering. After a millennia of women not being heard about sexual misconduct by their male bosses, it was revelation.

Yesterday, Weinstein sat down with several newspapers and complained about his ruined reputation.

His childlike defense was the following:

“I made more movies directed by women and about women than any filmmaker, and I’m talking about 30 years ago. I’m not talking about now when it’s vogue. I did it first! I pioneered it!” he bragged.

Cry me a river. He knew what he was doing. He knew that he was literally dangling work over their heads in return for sex. He is only crying foul because he got caught and lost everything.

I have a message for Mr. Weinstein. Grow up, grow a pair and admit what you did. An adult admits when they did something wrong. A child not only refuses to admit their error of their ways, they blame others and cast themselves as the victims. Care to guess which one Mr. Weinstein is?

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Bombshell Movie Review

Since the beginning of human history, sexual assault and sexual harassment has been the norm. Especially by powerful men who use sex as a tool against female subordinates or women who lack power. In our era, the balance is starting to tip against the men who use sex as a weapon, but not without the brave women who have come forward.

The new movie, Bombshell, tells the story of Fox News sexual harassment scandal from the perspective of the women who broke the scandal and stopped the harassment in it’s tracks. Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) are the headliners. Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) is the newbie. Rumors of sexual indiscretions against the female staff by the late Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) have been floating around for years, but have not been verified.

The women must make a choice. Do they speak up and lose their jobs? Or do they stay silent and let the toxic atmosphere remain?

This movie is incredibly timely and at times, incredibly uncomfortable. But, I suppose, that is point of this film. Lithgow, as Ailes, is creepy, but not overtly so and not in the first few minutes of the audience meeting him. It is that initial lack of creepiness that makes the audience think that maybe he is not so bad.

If there is anyone to give kudos to, it is the makeup and hair teams. At first glance, one would not know the difference between the really Megyn Kelly and Charlize Theron in character. The resemblance is uncanny.

But, if this film has one flaw, it is that the slow burn is too slow. Anyone who watches the news knows how the movie ends. But it takes a little too much time for the filmmakers to get to that point.

Do I recommend it? I am leaning towards yes.

Bombshell is presently in theaters.

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She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement Book Review

Throughout history, there has been an obvious power imbalance between men and women. Especially when it came to sex.

When the Harvey Weinstein scandal broke in 2017, it forever changed the way that rape and sexual assault are viewed. But bringing that story to the front page was not easy. In the new book, She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement, New York Times writers Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey recount the months long and difficult process of bringing this story to the public.

For decades, there were whispers within Hollywood about producer Harvey Weinstein. But as soon as reports surfaced of allegations of sexual harassment or sexual assault, they were put down as mere rumor. That is until Kantor and Twohey started digging. That digging opened a Pandora’s box of truth, lies and the people who would do almost anything to close that box again.

This book reads like a fictional thriller instead of a real story. It is a heart pounding roller coaster ride until the very end of the book. We know how the story ends, but there were so many blockages for Kantor and Twohey that I started to wonder if justice would finally prevail. When I finally finished the book, I was relieved that Weinstein was finally getting what was coming to him.

The thing that strikes me about this book and this story is that it is universal among women. The women who come forward in this book tell the same story, with minor details changed for their specific narrative. They range from Hollywood A-listers to fast food workers to teenage girls assaulted by their drunk male classmates. If nothing else, I think that this book and others of this nature are a starting point for a conversation that is more than overdue.

I absolutely recommend it.

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The Perfect Resolution to Grantchester’s #Metoo Moment

*This post contains spoilers about this season of Grantchester. Read at your own risk if you have not watched the entire season.

Women have been experiencing sexual assault and sexual harassment since the beginning of time. It is only in the past few years that the #Metoo movement has forced the hand of lawmakers and leaders to stop and/or prevent such acts.

This season of Grantchester tackled the issue as only this show can.

After having her children and spending quite a few years at home, Cathy Keating (Kacey Ainsworth) is ready to go back to work. It’s supposed to bring in additional income and give her something to do outside of the traditional roles of marriage and motherhood.

But like many women across the centuries, Cathy has more than the standard workload on her hands. Her lecherous colleague, Anthony Hobbs (Christian McKay) has wandering hands and the idea that his female colleagues are there for his sexual pleasure. The preview of the scene starts at :11.

There are two ways to resolve a story line of this manner: the easy way and the hard way. The easy way would have been that upon finding out about Mr. Hobbs, Cathy’s husband, Geordie (Robson Green) would have jumped into the car, driven to the store where his wife works and give Mr. Hobbs a beating he will never forget.

The hard way is for the women to stand up and use their brains to stop this man. Cathy enlists Mrs. Chapman (Tessa Peake-Jones) to help her get rid of Mr. Hobbs without relying on on her husband.

I won’t give away the ending of this narrative thread, but I will say that it felt satisfying, despite the frustration of Mr. Hobbs not being exposed for the predator that he is.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a little creativity to ensure that these men are treated as the criminals that they are. Especially when too many women still experience sexual harassment and sexual assault on a daily basis.

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Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment Book Review

Since the beginning of human history, men have used sex to gain power over women. But thanks the hard work of generations of women, the power imbalance is starting to even out.

In the new book, Reckoning: The Epic Battle Against Sexual Abuse and Harassment, by Linda Hirshman, explores how women have fought back against sexual harassment and have slowly began to win the war.

Ms. Hirshman starts her book in the 1970’s, when women began to talk to each other and organize against men who took advantage of their female subordinates. She then moves forward in time highlighting a number of accusations of rape and/or sexual harassment against prominent men and the women who were brave enough to go public with the accusations. The list includes the 1991 Clarence Thomas Hearings and the accusations by Anita Hill, the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton Scandal, and the multiple women claimed that Harvey Weinstein took advantage of them sexually.

Reckoning is a perfect title for this book. While telling the story of these brave and bold women, Ms. Hirshman inspires the reader to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. She also pulls no punches, calling out politicians on both sides of the aisle, women who stay silent and men who continue to perpetuate this heinous act.

I absolutely recommend it.

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Thoughts On Joe Biden’s Run For the 2020 Presidential Election

For months, former Vice President Joe Biden was on the top of the leader board as the Democrat who had the best chance to defeat you know who come next fall. But he had yet to confirm or deny that he was running for President. Today, he confirmed that he is running for President.

I have to be honest. I have mixed feelings about this announcement.

One could argue that among the Democratic candidates, he is politically one of the most qualified to run the country. He has been in government for nearly fifty years, eight of those  years were as Vice President under Barack Obama. As a liberal Democrat, Biden checks off many of the boxes that liberal/Democratic voters look for in a Presidential nominee.

But still, there a few things that bother me.

His actions during the Anita Hill hearing don’t sit well with me. Granted, it was decades ago, the hope is that he has changed and learned from his mistakes. But it still bothers me that instead of giving this woman a chance to tell her story, she was treated like dirt.

The accusations of being too touchy with certain women. Granted, he did not go as far as Harvey Weinstein or Matt Lauer, but the fact that did not recognize the boundaries of personal space by these women sends alarm bells off in my head.

Do we really want another old White man serving the highest office in the land? It’s 2019, it’s time to give a woman or a person of color the opportunity to run this country. My fear is that many voters will default to Biden because he is the standard political leader instead of giving another candidate a shot at becoming President.

It’s only April, we won’t know for at least a year as to whom will win the nomination. But whoever they are, they had better be in for a fight, because you know who never backs down from a fight.

 

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