Letters: It’s about power

IT’S ABOUT POWER

R. M. Powell claims in a recent letter (“A cultural illness,” Nov. 24) that it is the degradation of the sanctity of marriage and our “cultural obsession with sex” that have created the sexual assault crisis that is finally having its reckoning in our society.

This is disingenuous. The institution of marriage has never been a panacea that protects women from mistreatment. Historically, it could even serve to remove any agency she might have to protect herself. Women who left an abusive husband could be left destitute and shunned. And with no equality under the law, she might lose her children and be vulnerable to further abuse. It’s still happening in the world today.

Sexual assault is not about sex or tolerating it outside of marriage. It is about power, control and keeping the “inferior in their place.”

Carly Bisek, St. Paul, writing from Warsaw, Poland

 

DUE PROCESS

Zero tolerance of sexual harassment is a reasonable expectation. The current wave of allegations and accusations speaks to the need to hold those responsible to consequence.

In my mind, arriving at the truth and dimension of harassment, abuse and/or assault makes due process essential for the accuser and accused.

Sexual harassment training and effective harassment policy at the workplace are paramount to creating positive work climate and protecting all individuals.

It seems to me that in the absence of such policies, we run the risk of trying the accused in the court of public opinion. Those mistreated run the risk of being powerless without a path to just treatment and recourse.

Two weeks ago, I heard David Brooks address the issue of sexual misconduct. He said there were “degrees of vileness” when considering transgressions case by case. He felt not all misbehavior, however, rose to the level of costing a person his or her job.

I hope we are not destroying people, their careers and life’s work without due process. Likewise, I hope people are not withholding the pain of harassment and living in abuse without a legitimate means of making a complaint to seek redress.

Pete Boelter, North Branch


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