Are sexual harassment accusations taken less seriously when made against someone running for political office? In particular, the presidency of the U.S.?
Herman Cain, Republican candidate running for the presidency this year, has had four different sexual assault allegations made against him recently. Some people take these accounts seriously and wonder if Cain is not the best candidate; others feel that this is an attempt to take him down.
Cain said the “Democratic machine” was behind the accusations of molestation, which seems like a strange argument. It doesn’t seem like common practice for the opposing political party to focus on one candidate specifically and use something as serious as sexual harassment charges for a smear campaign.
The fact that four different women who do not work or live near one another have accused Cain of sexual harassment should definitely be considered, rather than written off. In response to the question if he’d drop out of the race, Cain eloquently said, “That ain’t gonna happen.”
Some people say we should focus on “bigger issues,” but this is a reckless way to view the situation. If the president has committed multiple sexual crimes against different women, how clear and logical is his thinking?
It’s fair to say women’s rights would be affected by electing a president who doesn’t respect women or their hardships.
Sharon Bialek, one woman who came forward with stories of sexual harassment from Cain, had a very specific story. She said Cain put his hand up her skirt and pushed her head toward his lap after having dinner, at which she called on him for help after being laid off. He was the group head of the National Restaurant Association at the time.
Bialek said when she seemed uncomfortable, Cain said “You want a job, right?” The details behind this story are compelling, and Bialek has no individual reason to falsely accuse Cain. The other women who have come forward do not have reason to say this, either.
Some skeptics point out that Bialek waited over a decade after this incident to say something, which increased the chances of her lying. But one must remember that victims of rape and sexual harassment are often ashamed or embarrassed, which makes it difficult to talk about their experience.
One of the women, Karen Kraushaar, happens to be an Ann Arbor native who used to work for the Ann Arbor News. She now works for the Treasury Department and has agreed to a joint press conference with the other accusers.
The fact that Cain is now running for president is also a great reason to shed light on this situation, before the people of America potentially elect a man guilty of sexual harassment.
Another argument defending Cain if these things did happen involves the ignorant factor, meaning he might not have intentionally harassed these women. However, no part of Bialek’s story sounds like a joke or something that could be seen as anything besides harassment.
While there are definitely cases where women “cry wolf” when it comes to sexual harassment or rape, viewing these confessions as doubtful from the start is very disrespectful. While no one should be prosecuted based on speculation, calling possible victims “liars” shows that people don’t really take the subject of rape seriously.
When Bill Clinton was outed for cheating on his wife by having a sexual relationship with an intern, Monica Lewinsky, the American public was outraged. Long after his term has been over, many people remember that about him before anything else.
Why is it that people seem to be more disgusted by consensual sex – even if it involves infidelity – over possible sexual
harassment accusations? I could understand why people might doubt one person, but four different women have come forward.
What will it take for people to see rape and sexual harassment as a serious topic that must be dealt with effectively? Do people really believe that these crimes are not something that should be considered?