Opinion Column by J1 Reporter Maria Piperis
“The measure of a man is what he does with power.” -Plato
Weinstein. Spacey. Lauer. O’Reilly. Moore. Any of those names ring a bell? These are just a few of the men on the seemingly endless list of those recently accused of sexual misconduct. Women are finally breaking their silences and exposing the blatant abuse of power by men of high status. Whether it be Hollywood, politics, or corporate offices, innocent women have been putting up with this injustice for years; and finally, these men are facing their long- deserved consequences.
The crisis is obvious, but what can we do to help it? It is not the time to be afraid or ashamed; it is the time to take action. Know how to recognize harassment, who you can talk to if you fall victim to it, and most importantly, how to say no. It is paramount in our efforts to stop sexual assault to know how to resist even the most powerful of men.
At the heart of the issue, it is not merely about what one man chose to do with his power. It is a deep-rooted, cultural problem: a lack of respect and dignity. We’re not asking for special treatment or to be put on some sort of pedestal; we’re simply asking for the basic respect we know we deserve. As a society, we need to raise our sons in a way so that they can not only recognize but admire the dignity, intelligence, and diversity of the women around them. Even Pope John Paul II acknowledges that humanity “owes a debt” to the “great, immense, feminine ‘tradition.’”
We are not objects. We are not prizes or trophies to be taken at face value and sized up before we even get a chance to speak. We are smart and strong and compassionate. We are leaders and writers and diplomats and lawyers and doctors and scientists. We are women. Stop the groping. Stop the cat-calls. Stop the assault. Stop the rape. It’s time.