Roger Ailes, Fox News icon, resigned in the wake of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Gretchen Carlson, former Fox News anchor. http://www.glamour.com/story/roger-ailes-resigns-as-fox-ceo-amid-sexual-harassment-allegations.
In Pakistan, Qandeel Baloch’s brother was arrested for strangling his sister his sister in what is known there as an ‘honor’ or shame killing for her outspoken feminist views. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2016/07/killing-qandeel-baloch-honour-meets-technology-160721085357444.html
Melania Trump suffered needless public humiliation at the Republican National Convention, when her speechwriters plagiarized parts of her speech. From now on that woman will forever be known as the woman who plagiarized Michelle Obama, whether her husband wins the Presidency or not. Two days after the speech, Meredith McIver, a woman in house staffer for the Trump campaign, took the ‘fall’ for the insertion of the plagiarized material. We may never know whether she was ‘coerced.’ http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/20/politics/trump-aide-offers-resignation-in-melania-trump-plagiarism-incident/
So far, Melania’s husband has not publicly apologized on his wife’s behalf for the terrible cruelty the plagiarism resulted in. He left her high and dry. What a guy.
Although these stories about the loathsome and despicable acts of these men grabbed headlines, as have others in recent decades, the epidemic of abuse continues.
The statistics are shocking and heartbreaking—and women are the majority of victims. “Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.” http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/
“The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. That’s nearly double the amount of casualties lost during war.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/23/domestic-violence-statistics_n_5959776.html
In many American counties, domestic violence is the number one crime. The one that shocked me was Marin County, arguably one of the wealthiest in the country, where I lived when I worked in the music industry in the nineteen eighties. Domestic violence is not the provenance of the poor and downtrodden. Centerfordomesticpeace.org
Stigma and Fear Keep Women Silent
Janine (not her real name) covers up purple/green bruises on her arms and legs by wearing long shirts and skirts. When she goes to the emergency room with broken ribs, she tells doctors and nurses she fell down some stairs. When she has a black eye, she doesn’t go out. She is afraid that if she ‘tells,’ her husband will beat her even more violently. If she tells her friends, she is afraid of bringing disgrace and shame to the family. If she goes to a woman’s shelter, what then? She is scared and confused. When she did confide in her brother, he said, “You probably brought this on yourself.”
This is similar to what many men say when women report rape: “You probably asked for it.”
Here’s what one husband said when his wife accused him of adultery: “You’re only upset because of your conditioning. You need to let go of having to be right all the time and find a way of being happy by accepting me as I am.” (Adulterer’s Wife: How to Thrive Whether You Stay or Not by C. J. Grace: www.adultererswife.com)
These stories reflect the knee-jerk response many men have when accused of abuse and harassment: shame and blame. Does some code of honor exist for a man to NOT admit he’s wrong? Or change his mode of behavior?
It takes a lot of courage for a woman to stand up to intimidation. Yet not doing so enables it to continue. Not suing for sexual harassment and discrimination in the work place perpetuates it. Not fleeing to a shelter brings more abuse and sometimes death.
More high profile women need to speak out. Only then can there be some seismic shift from a silent epidemic to an explosion of voices against domestic violence, assault, rape and workplace abuse. Perhaps then real change can occur.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Diane Rapaport, founder of Jerome Headlands Press, and author C. J. Grace will send free copies of Adulterer’s Wife: How to Thrive Whether You Stay or Not to the first 10 battered women’s shelters who comment on this blog; and we will send an equal amount of free copies to the first ten therapists helping women fight abuse, whether at home or in the workplace, who leave comments. Although adultery is only about one form of abuse, the emotional issues for women are the same: shame, fear, anger, humiliation, loneliness, and betrayal. This book shares very good advice about overcoming abuse, whatever its form, to help women gain independence and peace of mind.