It’s time to hold these men accountable for their actions.
It’s been ten years since Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned his position over a sexting scandal in New York. Governor Como is currently under investigation for multiple incidents of alleged sexual misconduct. President Bill Clinton was impeached for having sex with his intern because it was a very public way to hurt him politically, not because the other politicians wanted to shine a light on sex in politics and their bad behavior. When Donald Trump was running for president, several allegations came to light, accusing him of having sex with underage girls.
Political leaders, Corporate titans, and award-winning Actors, Directors, and Producers have been in the spotlight for sexually abusing women, from Bill Cosby to Harvey Weinstein and the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. What do these men all have in common? They are powerful, wealthy, entitled and somehow feel they can act with impunity when it comes to mistreating women.
The latest example is Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, accused of taking a seventeen-year-old girl across state lines for sex. According to the New York Times, The Justice Department is reportedly investigating Gaertz’s connection to a scheme that included paying for sex, sex trafficking, and paying for sex with a minor. The Times has reviewed Apple Pay, and Cash App receipts that show Gaetz and his friend paid women, who later told their friends it was for sex.
The Times also viewed text messages with further details about the investigation.
“We now have the digital receipts, and it appears Florida GOP Congressman Matt Gaetz and his former tax collector friend don't understand the concepts of "consequences," "technology," "digital paper trails," the "laws of the United States of America," or, more generally, "ethics."
Congressmen Gaetz was the only one to vote “no” on a 2017 bill to fight Human Sex Trafficking. Was that a signal of his possible future actions?
Unfortunately, this is not only a US-centric issue about power and impunity.
In a recent sex scandal in the Australian Parliament, several officials were accused of rape and pressuring women for sex to keep their jobs.
News.com.au reveals posts from a private Facebook group for women who work for the Labor Party, with harrowing allegations including senior male political figures pressuring women for sex and having sex with them when they were too drunk to consent, kissing them without consent, insulting them in crude and misogynistic language, and making comments on their looks.
According to Julia Banks, a successful lawyer and businesswomen who came to the Australian Parliament five years ago-
“It is the most unsafe workplace in the country,”
When we think about Human Sex trafficking, child marriages, and violence against women and girls, most of us picture a poor young girl in some remote village in Asia, India, or Africa being taken advantage of. We do not think about the Halls of Congress or the Boardrooms of our largest corporations. Hollywood has been forever synonymous with sex scandals. Rumors about the casting couch and sex for acting roles have been floating around for years. Until the #Me Too movement, these men were rarely held accountable for their actions.
What is the #MeToo movement, and why is it so important?
Women have been putting up with men in power, behaving as if they are above the law. Why is it that their actions do not come with consequences? Those days are over. Women are standing up and speaking out. The #MeToo movement gave a voice to thousands of sexual abuse survivors. Sharing their stories gave courage and strength to other women who put up with workplace sexual harassment or violence. These women had been living a daily nightmare of intimidation. Most were threatened to keep silent and were fearful that going public would cause public shaming, ruin their careers and their futures.
The #MeToo movement shone a light on decades of abuse that women had been suffering in silence. It proved that the world was ready to hear their stories and take action against their abusers. As a result of this worldwide social media movement, over two hundred wealthy, entitled, powerful men were held accountable for their actions.
The world is watching. You are now on notice. Women will no longer stay silent.
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