A new weather pattern rarely arrives without stormy winds, and so it is with societal change. Last week it was Charlie Rose. Yesterday, it was Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor. Today, the winds continue to erode Al Franken (if you haven’t read my previous thoughts on him, please check them out here), Roy Moore, John Conyer, and others. As women continue to find their voices to be powerful, we will undoubtedly see many more in the coming weeks and months. And it is likely that many men, now shaking in their boots about what lurks in their pasts, will escape the spotlight. But make no mistake: we are entering a new era.
I’m taken back to Trump’s Access Hollywood tape:
“[W]hen you’re a star, they let you do it.”
I think the word “let” in that sentence is pretty clearly past-tense now, but I think there’s something very telling here. We have men in positions of rank, status, and authority, who seemingly consider those attributes to be little more than aphrodisiacs. And they’ve been allowed the delusion of their own attractiveness and charm only because their victims – were they to become accusers – believed they had more to lose than the accused.
From this point forward, there is no hiding behind claims of consensuality. There is no more saying “I didn’t know” that your advances toward a colleague or subordinate were unwanted. Because now you know. Now, we all know.