The recent spate of sexual harassment/sexual assault claims is horrifying. Again, we see the effects of dehumanizing people and the effects of an inward mindset.
At times, it might be hard to know where flirtation ends and sexual harassment begins. I have seen office affairs spin up because it started as something small and worked into something much bigger that was accepted, albeit wrong, by both parties. Then there is the line that gets crossed between flirtation and harassment. Then there is another line that is immediately crossed with power and intimidation and fear. It would seem these are fairly easy lines to identify and, if so, one would know where the line between mutual interest and harassment, or assault, lies.
What happened in the past that made people think they could take advantage of someone emotionally or physically? What happened to make people think forced or coerced sex was acceptable?
While I am perplexed about what drives people to these dehumanizing steps, I am even more flummoxed by people who say they love/fear God and defend these things as “boy-talk”, “locker room humor” and other ways of saying they accept bad behavior.
I accept no one is perfect and there is danger in pointing fingers. I have a past with many mistakes as does everyone I know (who is willing to be honest) but it doesn’t mean we accept our failings with off-handed descriptions that make it seem acceptable. I’m all for second chances but those chances need to come after true remorse has been expressed at the least. There are also times when the offense is so heinous that a second chance isn’t appropriate at the time or for a certain position.
All that to say, before we need second chances, I sure hope we as a society can start valuing others more, see human life as something sacred and special and worthy of honor. Let us all seek to be kinder, more compassionate, more loving. Let us all seek to show empathy and care for others. Let us all do the right thing because it is the right thing to do, to lift others up when they need a hand, to see “the least of these” as equals in worthiness of dignity, respect and value.
Grace and peace.