Bankole: Sex scandal is not a war on men
Some southern Christian leaders, responding to the increasing number of sexual allegations against Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, are pushing the narrative that the sex scandals rocking the political, media and entertainment world is a declaration of war on men.
One minister, the Rev. Franklin Raddish, head of the Capitol Hill Independent Baptist Ministries, said in a recent interview with AL.com, one of Alabama’s largest news provider networks, that the accusations were a “war on men.”
Then came this shocker from the South Carolina pastor: “More women are sexual predators than men,” Raddish said. “Women are chasing young boys up and down the road, but we don’t hear about that because it’s not PC (politically correct).”
While there are documented episodes of boys who have been sexually abused by women, those words from Raddish, a Bible-toting preacher, as a response to the explosive allegations against prominent men, are a slap in the face of women who are majority victims of sex abuse.
When compared to the pain, suffering and shame expressed by some of the women now courageously unearthing years of alleged sexual misconduct by powerful men, the comments by the clergyman are either callous disregard for their humanity and dignity or simply dumb.
Instead of pouring invectives — for cheap political gain — on the open wounds of the women who have decided to speak out, we should be humbled and do some soul searching about the denial of women’s humanity that dates to the very founding of this nation.
It wasn’t long ago that women, after a long-fought battle to amend the U.S. Constitution, were given the right to vote. It is undeniable that men have always dominated and controlled the affairs of this nation, almost in the same vein the men who are now facing accusations lauded incredible power over their alleged victims.
In essence, this nation was founded at a time when women were arguably treated as invisible entities. The history of such paternalism accompanied by the illusions of grandeur demonstrated by powerful men fed into a perception that any issue regarding women shouldn’t be taken seriously.
That may explain why there are men who are willing to openly dismiss the sexual allegations of women who have been dehumanized.
But it would be ahistorical for Raddish and others like him to sit here and pretend as if men, not women, have been the victims of abuse, when it’s been just the opposite.
These women are finally putting names to the faces of the silent agony they have endured for decades. They are not declaring war on men. To suggest such would amount to making light of sexual harassment or an attempt to normalize this kind of behavior.
Instead, the women are demonstrating the courage of their convictions, despite the traumatic experience of having to live with that kind of abuse for years. We should applaud those women forcing their alleged sexual tormentors to reconcile with their past. After all, no father in his right mind would want his daughter to be harassed or sexually abused by any man.
One of the more eloquent explanations for why it has taken so long for these women to speak up comes from the late poet/author Maya Angelou. A child of the deep South, Angleou was raped at age 8 by her mother’s boyfriend. It took Angelou many years before she finally spoke out about it. She became a voice for many, and became one of the most powerful literary voices to ever shape womanhood and humanity. In a 2003 interview with Smithsonian magazine, Angelou explained why she was silent for all those years after an abusive childhood.
“All those years ago, I’d been a mute, and my mother and my brother knew that in times of strife and extreme stress, I was likely to retreat to mutism. Mutism is so addictive. And I don’t think its powers ever go away,” Angelou said.
We should never excuse or trivialize the sexual assault accusations dominating the headlines. We should weigh each story against the evidence because these women are in every way human and dismissing their pain as opportunism or anti-men is regrettably anachronistic and pathetic.
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