My, how many sins are being dragged into the light

 

People exploit power. We are hearing a plethora of accusations against men in every industry, including politicians, media persons, Hollywood moguls small and great, sexually abusing women under them and around them. Like rape, this is not really about gratifying sex, it’s about gratifying the self-presumed power over others to feed one’s obsessions, one’s inner sickness.

This kind of power exploitation is nothing new and it shouldn’t be confused with a moment of hormonal overload in a heated moment between a male and female who both spark a sexual fire. But even here the line can be thin if one, not the other, has their fire sparked.

We need to keep a few things straight. Sexual passion is an inherent human emotion, part of the need to reproduce that sets up that moment and is inherent in both male and female. It’s not an emotion that can be turned on and off like a light switch. And let’s not assume that it’s all a male thing.

With sin (if you do not believe in sin then you have a harder time finding an answer) the world and every aspect of man (generic male and female) became corrupted. This includes sexual feelings that we quickly learned can happen outside procreation. The elements of procreation are still there, we just don’t have to conclude our passion with it.

It is said that the rape of a woman in 510 BC ended the Kingdom of Rome after which we have the Republic of Rome. The last King of Rome, Lucius Tarquinius Superbus, sent his son Sextus on a military errand to Collatia where he met, in the home of the former governor, the governor’s wife Lucretia. Smitten by Lucretia he came back the next night and raped her. Calling for help to revenge her rape (after which she killed herself to cover her shame) one of the men to do so was Brutus who would take down the old kingdom and usher in a Republic.

Sextus may have been sexually attracted to Lucretia, but it was his sense of power that in his mind gave him the right to do what he wanted with Lucretia. I bring up Sextus and Lucretia to point out that this problem has always been with us in one form or another.

It doesn’t help when in a culture sexual mores are delicately confused making it impossible for both men and women to determine proper behavior. When both movies and television, and even written articles, take away moral questions covering sexual behavior showing many sexual behaviors as normal, it’s easy to go further than you might normally act out. In such cases we have assumed sexual behavior acceptable, and right. In this instance going too far is hard to determine where that line is and when we cross it and we act both inappropriately and abusively. In a recent YouGov polling  a troubling number of young adults, both male and female, find compliments about a woman’s attractiveness, or even an invite to get a drink from a man, as forms of sexual harassment. But this is about sexual behavior confused.

In terms of what we are seeing today, and I’ll only mention those men who have clear evidence against them and their admission of guilt of their power-driven sexual abuse—Harvey Weinstein, Sen. Franken, Charlie Rose, Jeffrey Tambor—they clearly believed that over a long time they felt they had the power to abuse mostly women while others watched and did nothing. In these cases power reached beyond the actual victim to others who could have stopped it but didn’t. We, the general public, are now learning about these decades of bad behavior.

What brought this now to a head? Why now victims and those who knew about such behavior are speaking out shedding light into darkness? Have we had a change in our sexual mores? To this last question, no, we really haven’t. You still cannot watch a movie both in a theater and on television that sex is not the new first kiss and never a question asked.

I’m going to suggest it has to do with a sense of political correctness. I’m not necessarily talking about political party (Democrat and Republican) correctness, though no doubt some of this plays into the moment, but a sense of social justice in a limited category. I’m not talking about sexual mores because in this modern culture this is too confused a subject to come to any common understanding or agreement. We as men and women, Democrat and Republican agree that “these” culprits are guilty of bad behavior without having to question sexual behavior in its total. Regardless of why it’s always wrong behavior. It’s just curious that now we are hauling men out of the past, and some in the now, and condemning their behavior when we turned our heads in the past and we really haven’t had a come-to-Jesus moment. We might feel good about some sense of justice, but not having dealt with the fundamental questions we’re not going to really solve much.