Powerful Predators Still Win
It would be nice to believe we human beings finally have decided to put an end to sexual harassment and abuse by the powerful. I’m afraid we have not done that, yet.
As Exhibit A, I give you Bill Cosby. He was on stage performing again last week. His audience was appreciative and supportive, to judge by press reports.
He hasn’t been found guilty, yet, of the foul offenses of which dozens of women have accused him. Most commonly, they say he drugged them, then had involuntary sex with them. His first trial ended in a hung jury; a second court appearance is set in a few weeks.
We’re all innocent until proven guilty, of course — but in Cosby’s case, there is an enormous cloud of smoke. You know what they say about smoke and fire.
It’s all about power, and Cosby has it. He has the power to make people laugh.
Others have institutional power. Penn State officials didn’t want a tarnish on their football program, so they ignored Jerry Sandusky. Olympic gymnastics officials had the same concern, so they let Larry Nassar continue molesting girls. Ditto for Michigan State University, where Nassar worked with and molested some young athletes, and ditto for the Catholic Church, which shuffled pedophile priests around rather than having them arrested for so many years.
It goes on and on and on.
Who’s held accountable? Occasionally, a pervert goes to jail. More often, his offenses are covered up, often with hush money.
But the enablers — the Hollywood establishment that knew all about Harvey Weinstein but did nothing, for example — get off scot-free. Sometimes, by wearing the right color clothing and making stirring speeches, they even come across as heroes and heroines.
Occasionally, we hear of a predator whose behavior wasn’t reported for all the right reasons. The other day, I heard about one victim who, as a young woman, failed to come forward because she feared her father would kill the creep.
One wonders why witnesses to what he did to her, and there were some, didn’t speak out.
Power, of course. They feared what a powerful predator boss could do to them. They feared his company would stand by him. And they may have been right.
Tell me, if you will, of any evidence you have seen recently that all that has changed. I wish I could believe someone has an answer for me.
Maybe I should ask Bill Cosby.
Myer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.