I recently ran across a sign that says it all regarding why some people act the way they do.
It said, “Common sense is a flower that does not grow in everyone’s garden.”
How true it is.
Every week we read stories about another high-profile individual who has some difficulties with personal restraint when it comes to dealing with members of the opposite sex.
Les Miles, current Kansas University college football coach and former LSU University head coach reportedly resigned this week. The action came after the revelation that when Miles was head coach at LSU he was under investigation by the school for inappropriate behavior with female students.
He was accused of texting female students, taking them to his condo alone, making them feel uncomfortable and even kissing one student after suggesting they go to a hotel. She said he told her he could help her with her career.
The school concluded their investigation in 2013, determining that Miles did not have a sexual relationship with any of the women. But they did determine his behavior was inappropriate and he was banned from contacting female students. The University said they stopped short of firing him because they could not determine if the kissing claim was true. And he did have to sign a form stating he understood school policies.
Miles claimed he did nothing wrong and was simply mentoring the women.
And so, it was swept under the rug.
Several former aides of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo have come forward to accuse him of sexual harassment and another has accused him of attempting to kiss her.
The New York Attorney General’s office has begun an investigation into Cuomo’s behavior and are reportedly looking for any other women who say they were victims.
Cuomo’s apology went like this, “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people uncomfortable.”
The big question here is why is he just now understanding?
The responses by Miles and Cuomo are part of a pattern by men who have been accused of sexual misconduct.
CBS Chief Executive Officer, Les Moones was accused of sexual harassment and assault. His response, “I recognize I may have made some women uncomfortable.”
Actor Morgan Freeman, accused by eight women of inappropriate behavior and harassment said, “I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected.”
Richard Branson, Virgin Airlines CEO was accused of sexual assault. Branson released a statement saying, “There would never have been any intention to offend, and I apologize to anyone who felt that way.”
Minnesota senator Al Franken was accused of unwanted kissing and groping a journalist. Franken responded, “I feel badly what Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.”
Former president, George H.W. Bush was accused by eight women of touching their butts. After initially denying the claims, his spokesperson said they were “simple misunderstandings.” Then said, “on occasion Bush as patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner.” “To anyone he offended, he apologies.”
During Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, several women said Biden greeted them with hugs, shoulder rubs and kisses on the cheek. All of which made them uncomfortable. Biden’s response was a vow to be more “mindful of people’s personal space.”
The overall pattern here is the men are not actually sorry they did what they did. They are just sorry that some women are so picky they do not want to be groped or patted or kissed without their permission.
The nerve of some women!
Sexual harassment is used to intimidate, disempower and discourage women.
Some have suggested that men are so brain-washed by a society which reduces women to sexualized objects, they are not responsible.
The men who do this are making a choice to harass women. They are not victims of some of mind-altering biases that force them to see women as sex objects.
Men are not born with a caveman mentality. It is not that difficult to conduct yourself in a professional manner or to just keep your hands to yourself.
When a woman’s response to a man in power can determine whether she keeps her job or receives a promotion, women become vulnerable targets. No woman signs up for that. A career path should not include putting up with such disrespect.
And it is not only about the women who do come forward. Just because a woman does not file a complaint against you does not mean she is not offended.
This lame, ‘if you were offended’, cop out is not really an apology.
Learning how to act is not rocket science.
If you would not say it or do it to your mama or your sisters or if your wife is in the room, then it is inappropriate.
Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.