By Linda Kral
Roswell Daily Record
ROSWELL — I held off addressing the sexual harassment scandal partly because I figured no one needed to discuss that over Christmas dinner and I am struggling about what exactly to say that hasn’t been said on the subject. With allegations still popping up daily, I felt like this is as good a time as any to speak my mind and my truth. This is a hot topic that can be taken in so many directions, so let me take full responsibility for my opinions and apologize if what I say offends you.
It is a tough topic for sure. I get that, the “Me Too/Times Up” movement is running full speed and depending on where you stand, this can become a divisive topic for many. This has been one of the most difficult columns to write, not because of the subject matter but because there are so many sides, angles, stories and oh so many people who have been affected. My thoughts cannot fit in one column, so I plan to do Part 2 next time.
If ever there was a “two sides of every story” situation, it is this one. However, it seems that everyone has been quick to point fingers, name names and make judgments without much discussion or consideration given to both sides. It is distasteful to imagine giving these mostly male offenders any kind of consideration, but in this vast sea of abuse stories, it only makes sense to assume that not all of the stories are true.
These “he said-she said” reports must be looked at closely and carefully on an individual basis. I disagree with the notion that the accuser must always be believed. It is vitally important for anything positive to come of this movement, that “we” get this right.
The punishment must fit the crime and there can be no doubt when it comes to innocent vs. guilty. Unfortunately, this will in almost all of the cases, come down to proof and believability. “Innocent until proven guilty” is something we all must demand here. In cases of multiple abuse such as Harvey Weinstein, there seems to be no question of his guilt. There are far too many accusers for him to try to claim innocence.
These situations where multiple women have stepped up sharing similar stories should result in quick resolutions and appropriate punishments. The more difficult cases will be the ones without multiple women to collaborate and lack of proof. The older abuse claims that go way back may find it even more difficult because memories fade and important details get lost. It is a horrible situation on both sides.
Let’s make no mistake; abuse comes in several equally painful ways; sexual, physical, mental, verbal and emotional. They all leave scars seen and unseen that last a lifetime and affect the innocent in many ways. My hope is that the guilty are proven so and pay the price. It is time however, that all abuse stop and no longer be tolerated. Those falsely accused should be able to clear their names and have their reputations restored. The guilty must be made to make amends to their accusers in whatever way the courts decide is appropriate. The “victims” (for lack of a better term) must be able to be heard and acknowledged so they can get what they need to move forward in life, aware that there will never be 100 percent healing for anyone. No one really wins here. The best we can hope for is confession, acknowledgment, resolution, healing and hard work to educate and hopefully end the many abuses that continue.
Hollywood and Washington D.C. are not the only places with abuse. Anyplace where you have people in power over you, be it a famous director, movie star, politician or a boss who hands you a pay check, abuse is abuse. I have not told many people my own story because it is embarrassing and shameful, but I was sexually abused when I was three years old. I remember it clearly and painfully. Why do I feel ashamed, like I had anything to do with it? A three-year-old could barely talk. How did that assault affect me? Oh, in so many ways and for so long that I need to continue my story and my thoughts in my next column. For now, all of us to need look at what is going on and ask … “How did this happen?” “What can we do?” “How can we fix this?” “What now?” To be continued.
Linda Kral was born and raised in the Bay Area of California. She and her husband moved to Roswell in July 2005. She is happily retired and can be reached at LKral@cableone.net. The views expressed in this column are those of the author.
Used by permission:
Gazette Media Services Community News Exchange
Owner Guadalupe County Communicator, Santa Rosa, NM
Image: Created at Canva