Based on recent revelations in the media I have come to the conclusion that I have been living under a rock for several decades. I had no idea there were so many disgusting men in the world. I was not so foolish as to think there were no disgusting men, it is impossible to have observed the 2016 Presidential election without admitting the existence of such beasts, but I thought perverts were incredibly rare. Like white whales, Halley’s comet and $10,000 lottery tickets, I never expected to encounter one.
I am realizing that episodes of sexual harassment are more like serious car accidents. The fact that I may never experience one does not mean they don’t happen every day.
Just this week a patient shared with me her stories (sadly she had more than one). When she was a young single mother she worked in a high level sales job. One afternoon her boss asked her to join him on some late customer visits. She initially declined due to child care needs but when he offered to pay the cost of a sitter for the evening she reluctantly agreed. The clients were among their most important and she felt she needed to go. The sales calls were uneventful, but ended after 7 PM so she accepted his invitation to join him for dinner. At the conclusion of the meal he surprised her by invitingly saying, “I have a room here in this hotel.” She was stunned. She was not that kind of girl and she did not think it was that kind of dinner. She told him she needed to go home to her children and wanted to be driven back to her car, right then. She was let go from the job in a matter of weeks.
Later in life she worked in a CPA firm. She was an up and coming accountant in a the firm working the required hours so she could become a CPA herself. There were two senior partners in the small office, one of whom had a habit of standing next to her when she was at the copy machine. He would frequently stand close enough that he could rub his leg up against hers. Any thoughts that this was incidental contact were proven false on the occasion he slid his hand along her thigh. She was mortified, but he was a senior partner and she was desperate for the job. She said nothing.
Hearing her story, and reading the stories of others, I find myself wondering, “How does his happen?” What happens in the mind of a man that leads him to conclude that such behavior is acceptable? Some form of perverse rationalization must be going on. Very few people are so evil as to think, “I know this is a terrible and perverse act, but I am going to do it anyway.” Something is happening in the twisted minds of bad men that leads them to think it is okay for them to do what they are doing.
We see this in the lame “apologies” of some of those whose perverse behavior has come to light. Charlie Rose’s statement that he thought there was “consensual” interest would be laughable if it was not so pathetic. (Sorry, Charlie, no one wanted to see your wrinkly old body naked.)
How is it that otherwise intelligent men can reach such idiotic conclusions about how they can and should interact with women? I have a few thoughts.
- They have no moral goals. They have personal goals and financial goals and sexual goals, but they do not strive for moral excellence. Men who strive to be honorable, respectable, good and kind men do not harass others.
- They do not see women for who they truly are, individuals created in the image of God. Men who view women as Daughters of the King will be more likely to treat women as royalty. I doubt Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer or Charlie Rose would have dared to disrobe in front of the Queen of England. Good men know that all women are equal in value to the Queen and act accordingly.
- They do not cultivate attitudes of respect and honor towards women. Herein lies one of the dark consequences of the pornography epidemic. It should come as no surprise that a nation in which 61 percent of male college graduates report recent pornography use has a surplus of perverts. Men who desire to develop positive attitudes about women will avoid seeing women objectified and degraded. Good men avoid porn, knowing that normal women do not look like or act like the women in those images. Good men work to develop healthy, positive thoughts about women.
- They get away with it. This is the saddest aspect of the story. We live in a world where profit is more important than people. Donald Trump was right. If you are a celebrity you can grab women and get away with it. Bad behavior needs to have consequences. If there is anything good about all the recent revelations it is that negative consequences are finally becoming a reality.
In these reasons for perversion we find the solutions to the problem as well. Men need to be trained in how to be better men. Leaders in business, faith and society need to set examples for others to follow. The Apostle Paul said it well in his instructions to his friend Timothy when he told him “in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.”
I am working on this with some men I know. I recently started a weekly men’s group. The goal of the group is simple- We are men meeting together to help each other be better men. We recently spent an hour talking about what it means to honor our wives and other women. We talked about appropriate speech and conduct, about respect and kindness. One of the points we made is that if we are focused on being the best men we can be and if we are striving to treat women with honor and respect, there will be no room in our lives for abuse or harassment.
I cannot speak for the rest of society, but these men and I are working to make our world a better place. We know that change begins with us. Although none of us can change the world on our own, we know we can all impact our corner of it.
Thanks for reading and sharing. If any men in the Huntington Beach area are interested in starting or joining a men’s group focused on being better men, godly men, feel free to contact me.