Posts Tagged ‘sex abuse’

Connect the Dots: Women’s Time is Now

Monday, January 29th, 2018

By Bob Gaydos

Women marched across the nation this month.

Women marched across the nation this month.

I’m big on connecting the dots. A plus B plus C … sometimes it adds up to D. Or in this case, W, as in Women. Here they come, politically. And long overdue.

In this case, making the connections wasn’t too difficult, unless you happen to be someone — a Republican, for example — who is genetically incapable of recognizing the gross disparities, unfairness and outright abuse that continue to confront women in America decades after an Equal Rights Amendment was proposed by Congress and failed to get the required number of states to approve it.

That’s a dot still to be connected, but there are plenty of others falling into place, suggesting a new era is about to burst the male-dominated political/economic bubble that has encased America for, well, ever.

The dots as I see them, in no particular order:

  • The Harvey Weinstein sex abuse scandal that rocked Hollywood, wrecking careers of powerful men throughout the industry.
  • The #metoo movement that grew out of the scandal as women in all fields, from TV to Silicon Valley to sports, found the courage to tell their stories of sexual exploitation by men in a position of power.
  • Many of those men losing their jobs as a result.
  • The Women’s Marches that began last year to protest the election of the misogynist-in-chief and grew this year as millions of women (and men) marched across the country to demand equality for women in the workplace, in politics, in the board room, in society.
  • Oprah Winfrey delivering a stirring speech as she accepted an award at the Golden Globes Awards, leading to a social media storm urging her to run for president. (Please, no, we’ve tried the really rich person used to giving orders with no government experience thing. But please do support candidates who agree with you, O. Generously.)
  • Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss America and former Fox News anchor who won a multi-million-dollar sexual harassment settlement from the network, being named chair of the Miss America pageant board of directors after the male bosses were shown to be mini-Trumps. Former contestants were also added to the board, which was previously all-male.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-NY, urging Democratic Sen. Al Franken to resign over sexual groping charges, saying Bill Clinton should have stepped down as president because of his sex scandals and urging Donald Trump to resign as president over sexual assault charges from a score of women.
  • Trump attacking Gillibrand with sexual innuendo on Twitter and unleashing a powerful backlash.
  • The doctor for the U.S. Olympics gymnastic team being sentenced, in effect, to the rest of his life in prison for abusing dozens of female athletes under his medical care for years. The athletes were given all the time they wanted in court by the female judge to tell their stories before the sentencing.
  • Women of color turning out en masse at the polls in Alabama to defeat a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate who, as a district attorney stalked teen-aged girls at malls. The candidate, Roy Moore, had the support of Trump and the Republican Party. The Democrat won.
  • A record number of women, mostly Democrats, running for political office this year at the local, state and national levels.
  • Time Magazine choosing “The SILENCE BREAKERS,” the women who came forward with their stories of sexual harassment and assault, launching the #metoo movement, as “Persons of the Year.”
  • Hillary Clinton running for president, getting nearly 3 million more votes than Trump, and losing anyway because (1) the Russians interfered with the campaign, (2) Republicans didn’t care and still don’t and (3) she apparently rubbed a lot of women the wrong way.
  • Gillibrand, Sen. Kamala Harris of California and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii joining Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Connecticut as leading voices in the Democratic Party and speaking eloquently about economic equality, health care, gun violence, family leave, veterans, the homeless, abortion, immigration, jobs, the drug crisis — all for the most part ignored by Republicans.
  • Steve Wynn, financial chairman of the Republican National Committee, being forced to resign his position over numerous charges of sexual harassment and abuse of women over the years. The wealthy casino magnate is a major financial supporter of Trump and other Republicans.
  • Congress rewriting the rules (such as they were) for dealing with members accused of sexual harassment. Secret non-disclosure agreements are probably not going to be the norm anymore.
  • Female registered voters outnumbering male registered voters in the United States. They are also more likely to vote than men.

These are the dots. There are plenty more, but you get the idea. This is not simply a revolution about sexual predation — or an attitude of male sexual privilege, if you will. As I see it, it is an awakening, a moment of clarity, a realization that what was does not have to continue to be. Cannot be, in fact. Republicans are mostly clueless to the moment. Democrats ignore it to their continued ineffectuality at the polls.

You want another dot to connect? How about First Lady Melania Trump canceling out at the last moment on the trip to Davos with Donald? No standing stoically by her man. Someone said she sent him a private tweet: Dear POTUS, not going to Davos. Why don’t you see if Stormy Daniels is free for the weekend? Well, not free, but, you know, affordable.

Connect the dots.

Legend or No, Paterno Had to Go

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Joe Paterno ... time to go

By Bob Gaydos

The lead on the Associated Press story Wednesday afternoon was straightforward and shocking at the same time:  “STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Joe Paterno, the Penn State football coach who preached success with honor for half a century but whose legend was shattered by a child sex abuse scandal, said Wednesday he will retire at the end of this season.”

At the end of the season? Is he kidding? Are they kidding? Are the trustees of Penn State going to let Paterno, living legend or no, get away with that?

Those were my italicized thoughts immediately on reading the AP story, after following nearly 24 hours of non-stop coverage of the Penn State scandal, not only on radio and TV sports talk shows, but on network and cable TV news shows and on the front page of every newspaper in the country.

“Joe Pa,” the 84-year-old face of Penn State was, as usual, setting his own terms for when he would leave his beloved university. Or at least he was trying to. But this time, Standup Joe, as he is also lovingly known around State College, has no leg to stand on. That he was still football coach Wednesday afternoon was an upset in itself. For him to be allowed to coach on the weekend against Nebraska and then stay on to the end of the season would be the most profound insult to the alleged victims of the assaults and their families and would tarnish even more the image of Penn State.

The issue in this case is simple: What legal and moral responsibility did Paterno, as head coach and de facto king of Penn State, have in protecting young boys from sexual assaults from one of his coaches? Again, quoting from the AP story: “Paterno said he was “absolutely devastated” by the case, in which his one-time heir apparent, Jerry Sandusky, has been charged with molesting eight boys over 15 years, including at the Penn State football complex.”

Paterno reported an allegation of such an assault nine years ago to the university’s athletic director after Mike McQueen, a graduate assistant on the football team who said he saw Sandusky in the shower at the university with a 10-year-old boy, reported it to the coach. Legally, McQueen and Paterno apparently feel they did all they had to do.

Maybe so. That’s for the state attorney general to decide. Morally it’s a different matter. And the answer is clear: No, neither man did all that needed to be done. The assistant coach did not try to stop whatever was going on in the shower. Instead, he called his father who told him to leave. They talked about it and told Paterno the next day. Paterno told the AD. Nine years later — during which time Sandusky continued to operate a foundation to serve underprivileged young boys and continued to be seen around Penn State — Sandusky was arrested and athletic director Tim Curley and vice president Gary Schultz were charged with failing to report the incident to the authorities.

But there was Paterno, several times a target for those who thought he was too old to coach and should retire and now holding the record for most football wins among Division I schools, still on Wednesday afternoon attempting to dictate the terms of his retirement.

It is an arrogance and sense of entitlement that no serious board of trustees can allow to succeed. Paterno made much during his tenure of holding his football players to higher standards, morally, than coaches at other schools. It is part of what created his legend. Failing to notify police authorities for nine years, during which time school officials made it clear they weren’t going to pursue legal action against Curley, was more than a lapse in judgment, it was a profound moral lapse. Or maybe the image Paterno has projected all these years was false.

Whatever the case, Paterno and school officials suggest by their callous disregard for the boys and potential future victims that protecting the reputation of the school comes first and, at Penn State, the football reputation trumps all.

It is sad, it is troubling, it is infuriating. In this day and age, there are still adults who do not recognize that there is a moral obligation to do everything possible to protect the most vulnerable among us from predators — even when to do so may harm other people and institutions we hold close. Sometimes we are indeed our brothers’ keepers.

Retire at the end of the season? No way. Joe Pa should have retired with humility Wednesday afternoon. Wednesday night, the board of trustees fired him immediately. Finally, the trustees reclaimed control of Penn State.