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Herman Cain Doesn’t Get It — And Neither Do A Lot Of Other Men

Guest Blogger: RL Gardner

Another shoe has now dropped in the Herman Cain sexual harassment saga, thanks to the revelations of Sharon Bialek at a news conference the other day.  According to Ms. Bialek, Mr. Cain put his hand up her skirt, and tried to force her head down into his crotch.  To me, this action crosses the line from harassment to assault.

Mr. Cain’s reaction was a rather angry, incoherent email in which he called the accusations of sexual harassment “nonsense” and claims that the media is setting him up.

Um, Mr. Cain?  If these allegations by Ms. Bialek and the other three women are true (and I am thinking that they are), the only person who set you up is youYou are the one who said and did things to women that they didn’t like. You are the one who acted inappropriately.  You are the one who put yourself in this position.  Stop yelling at everybody else, and do what you told others to do: look in the mirror.

That being said, what I really wanted to talk about is what underlies all of this: sexual harassment and sexual assault are real.  It happens all the time, whether it be an unwanted remark or out-and-out rape.  It. Happens.  It is perpetrated by men who think that they have the right to say anything they want, touch any woman they want, do whatever they want with her, and if that woman doesn’t like it, well, there must be something wrong with her.  She must have been asking for it.  She was dressed in a provocative way.  She was leading you on.  She was sending signals.  She was asking for it!

I’ve got news for you, Mr. Cain and any other male out there who has been guilty of sexual harassment or sexual assault. She was not asking for it!  You were foisting it upon her because you thought you could.  Because you thought it was your right.  Because you have no respect for women as human beings.  Because you think that women are objects, property, chattel, etc., that that gives you the right to act out your fantasies, your desires, your power trips.

And when she says no, your male ego gets all hurt and sulky and angry and accusatory.  How dare she reject you?  How dare she say no?  How dare she just not take what you want to dish out and be grateful for it?  How dare she? She was asking for it, after all.  You know that because, well, you’re a man, and that’s what men do.  (Disclaimer: No, not all men do this; there are a lot of good, decent men out there who, even if they had thoughts of making an advance on a woman when said woman had not given you an opening to do so, would not act on those thoughts.)

It doesn’t matter if she says no.  It doesn’t matter if one of your co-workers or one of your buddies says to you, “Hey dude, that wasn’t cool.  Knock it off!”  You just don’t get it.  You just don’t understand what all the fuss is about, because you have no respect for women.  Because you do not see them as human beings.  So again, there must be something wrong with her.  It couldn’t possibly be you, could it?

Let me ask you something, though.  What if your mother, your wife, your sister, or your daughter was in a situation where her boss, her teacher, a guy at school, a stranger on the street, grabbed her or put their hand up her skirt, or tried to force her face into some guy’s crotch?  Hmmmmm?  Would you tell her that she was asking for it?  Would you tell her she should just have gone along with it? Would you ask her why she thought it was such a big deal?  Although I do know men who would indeed blame the female even if she were related to him, I also know men who are inappropriate with women they aren’t related to who would be appalled if a woman close to him were treated in this fashion.

I have had my ass grabbed.  I’ve had my breasts grabbed.  I was almost raped.  I’ve had things said to me that to this day piss me off when I think about them.  They weren’t funny then, and they aren’t funny now.  I’m not your little toy, not some thing you can play out your sexual and power fantasies on.  I am a person. You might want to remember that (or get it through your thick skull in the first place).

And while I know I may be asking the impossible, I’d like you to think about this.  If you would find it offensive and horrible if someone did something inappropriate toward a female you are close to, then the next time you think it would be okay to slide your hands up the skirt of a female who is not your wife or significant other, remember that she has a father, a husband, a brother who would find it offensive if you did it.  And keep your hands and your inappropriate remarks to yourself.  Just. Shut. Up.  Sit on your hands.  Whatever.  Just don’t do it, whatever it was you were thinking about doing.  If the only way you think you can prove you’re a man is to treat women in such an inappropriate way, then I would say you aren’t much of a man at all.

Take a look in the mirror and think about that.

Also found at Democrats for Progress

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November 9, 2011 - Posted by | Politics | , , ,

21 Comments »

  1. Thank you for this excellent essay. I wrote something similar a couple of days ago – Memo to Men: “Get It”. Women should not have to tolerate such behavior. The workplace is not a single’s bar, or a high school locker room. The problem is not that men need to “get over it.” The problem is that men need to “Get It.”

    Good day and good nuts.

    Comment by BPI Squirrel | November 9, 2011 | Reply

    • Women who have been harassed/abused should not be forced to become VICTIMS again as most often happens. No wonder women just keep silent as in a case of a Republican like Herman Cain, his alleged victims will be called “liars” by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and talking heads on Fox News. They are victimized AGAIN often having every aspect of their lives scrutinized, their financial records exposed, even though most such information is irrelevant to the harm done to them. It is often not worth coming forth with charges. Two of the women have come forward are also Republicans.

      A very similar parallel can be applied to Penn State Coach Joe Paterno showing those in power and their supporters will do everything to protect themselves, even if crimes were committed.

      Comment by grantinhouston | November 9, 2011 | Reply

  2. I am not a Cain supporter but I do find Ms. Bialek accusations a little hard to believe. I find it very difficult to believe that Mr. Cain sat in his car, maybe in public, ran is hand up her leg and then soon after or simultaneously push her head toward his crotch. I just can’t visualize him just doing that to her out of the blue. I think there is more to the story. Maybe they started messing around and she then said to stop. Regardless, having 4 women accusing him does seem suspicious.

    Comment by DJ | November 9, 2011 | Reply

    • Maybe in public? Many cars have tinted windows. Growing up in an era of drive-in theaters, all of kinds of passion erupted in parked cars.

      Comment by grantinhouston | November 9, 2011 | Reply

    • As grantinhouston said, some cars have tinted windows. Plus it was at night, and we don’t know how many people may have been around.

      Regarding not being able to visualize Cain just doing something like that out of the blue, well, it does happen — a lot. Yes, sometimes women may engage in some type of sexual activity with men and then want to stop (and it should stop at that point, by the way), but more often than not, men who do these kinds of things do them just because they want to and just because they think they can. And that was the point of what I wrote — for some men, the only “invitation” they need is what they themselves want, and never mind with the woman may or may not want.

      –RLGardner

      Comment by SeattleGirl | November 9, 2011 | Reply

  3. Great post. I am getting so tired of hearing sexual assault/sexual harrassment mocked by all those brave “politically incorrect” talking heads. Another one of their favorite quips is that liberal women are not attractive or feminine enough, so they couldn’t possibly have been harrassed, or they wish they would have been harrassed. Jackasses.

    Comment by eurobrat | November 9, 2011 | Reply

    • Yep, as if only attractive women are assaulted (and therefore, it must be okay, right?). I think if I roll my eyes any more at the idiotic comments I’ve been hearing lately, they’ll get stuck in permanent roll.

      RLGardner

      Comment by SeattleGirl | November 9, 2011 | Reply

      • Sometimes I feel like my eye sockets will explode ;)

        Comment by eurobrat | November 10, 2011 | Reply

  4. People do not get it. Women should not put up with that sort of behavior.
    Cain is not used to having his behavior questioned. He does not respect people; he is a narcissist. It is clear that he does not respect women.

    Comment by hockley | November 9, 2011 | Reply

    • I notice that one of the things he keeps saying is that he’s a business man. What the hell does THAT mean? That businessmen don’t sexually harass or assault women? I’ve got news for Mr. Cain — several of the men who made inappropriate/outright nasty remarks and moves against me were “respected” businessmen.

      He seems to think that the more he talks and the more he says stupid things, the more people will respect him. Oy!

      RLGardner

      Comment by SeattleGirl | November 9, 2011 | Reply

  5. The REICH-wing still stands defiantly behind Herman Cain, with this conservative blog saying the charges against Cain are part of Obama’s dirty tricks….you know CHICAGO politics!

    http://www.amnation.com/vfr/archives/020956.html

    Comment by grantinhouston | November 9, 2011 | Reply

  6. Tonight, for Rick Perry, it was “Texas Toast” and when more women come forward in the next few days, Herman Cain will be toast too. We Texans have long known that Perry was a fraud, who played dirty politics, got rich with the help of his cronies. He most often refused to debate and got by with it over the years. Maybe he should have had some practice.

    Comment by grantinhouston | November 9, 2011 | Reply

  7. Just as the wingnuts booed a gay American soldier in Iraq, a guy dying for lack of health insurance, Perry frying prisoners on death row, tonight the rowdy Republican crowd booed the CNBC moderator for asking Cain about the sexual harassment charges. The support for Cain from the Republicscum is appalling. They vilify the women who brought the charges but I don’t remember the REICH vilifying the women Anthony Weiner sent text messages/pictures to. But then most Democrats didn’t blindly support Weiner when it became evident he was guilty of indiscretions (although no crime). Shows a difference between the progressive mind and the corpfascist mind.

    Comment by grantinhouston | November 10, 2011 | Reply

  8. Good try but Weiner was PROVEN to have committed those acts. All you have with Cain are allegations by a person who has a history of claiming to have been wronged. I guess the innocent until proven guilty does not apply to a black conservative who the democrats view as a threat and will do whatever necessary to destroy.

    Comment by skudrunner | November 10, 2011 | Reply

    • skudrunner: fail.

      “History of claiming?” You have no way of knowing that, as the records are sealed.
      Duh.
      Second, stop trying to play the victim with this implied lynching hooey.

      Comment by hockley | November 10, 2011 | Reply

    • If Cain was so “innocent” then WHY did his American Restaurant Association spend tens of thousands in settlements with the women who filed sexual harassment charges for their silence? Two of the women who have now come forward publicly both happen to be registered Republicans. Sharon Bialek even met Cain again recently at a tea party rally in Chicago yet Cain says when he saw her on TV with her attorney Gloria Allred, he never recognized her. Cain said in his press conference Tuesday, “How can I defend [myself from] charges when I don’t remember this person by name? I don’t remember that she did work at the [National Restaurant Association] Education Foundation, and when I first saw her [on TV this week]… I didn’t recognize her,”

      Cain’s campaign has also lied in spreading the story all over Faux News and REICH-wing hate radio that second accuser Karen Kraushaar was related to a reporter at Politico who shares the same last name. However, they are not closely related nor know each other. Kraushaar is also a REGISTERED REPUBLICAN, her father even working in the Nixon administration.

      http://www.freep.com/article/20111108/NEWS01/111108061/Ann-Arbor-native-goes-public-She-settled-sex-harassment-claim-against-Herman-Cain?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|FRONTPAGE

      L. Lin Wood, the lawyer hired by Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain to defend him against sexual harassment accusations, has warned that any other women considering coming forward with similar allegations “should think twice”. Nothing like continuing with vile THREATS. Is the “Godfather of pizza” going to order severed horse heads be placed in their beds?

      http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Elections/President/2011/1110/Why-Cain-s-accusers-under-scrutiny-may-seek-strength-in-numbers

      Forbes Magazine, hardly a liberal rag says:

      Warning victims not to prosecute, or even talk about their experiences, is beyond scary. It’s wrong in general and particularly offensive in cases alleging sexual misconduct. Victims of sexual harassment are likely to be feeling frightened, vulnerable and ashamed. They need to be encouraged to come forward, not threatened to remain silent.

      Any woman, child or man in this country who has been sexually harassed, molested or assaulted shouldn’t have to “think twice,” regardless of the identity of the perpetrator involved. On the other hand, any person running for President of the United States with multiple allegations of sexual harassment in his past should think twice, at least.

      Comment by grantinhouston | November 10, 2011 | Reply

    • “I guess the innocent until proven guilty does not apply to a black conservative who the democrats view as a threat and will do whatever necessary to destroy.”

      Really? You think that the only reason these accusations have been made is because Mr. Cain is a black conservative? Are you saying that had he been a white conservative, these accusations would never have been made?

      This has nothing to do with the fact that Mr. Cain is black and conservative. It has to do with the inappropriateness of the behavior that these women claim he is guilty of.

      Talk about playing the “race card.”

      RLGardner

      Comment by SeattleGirl | November 10, 2011 | Reply

      • I don’t think Cain is a much more than window dressing, much like companies who only hire black managers not to do actual work but to be their puppets (maybe help win a government contract). The Koch Brothers, who have long sponsored Cain and paid him well for years to fire up/speak for their causes, are USING Cain in hope of siphoning off just enough black voters to defeat Obama. He will never be a “Party of Lincoln” candidate in the end as the mostly white male and racist teabaggers will never vote for a black man in the privacy of the voting booth.

        Comment by grantinhouston | November 10, 2011 | Reply

        • Exactly, grantinhouston. The Republicans don’t look beyond the surface. “They” have a female candidate, so “we’ll” put up Sarah Palin. “They” have a black man running (elected), so “we’ll” have a black candidate, as if the only thing that matters is gender or color. They don’t care about substance when presenting candidates to the public. They only care about looks and bumper-sticker slogans.

          Comment by SeattleGirl | November 10, 2011 | Reply

          • I have an anecdotal account of going to work in California for one of the nation’s largest corporations in the 1970’s. I was happy at first to find some black men (sadly no women) in middle management positions. One, my “boss”, was very personable and had been a college football “hero” in Southern California. However, I began to notice he didn’t do any real work around the office but was USED mostly as a front man, especially when the construction company I worked for was going after government housing contracts and they needed to show our company’s “diversity”and he would be paraded like a “show pony”. As my “boss” he rarely knew what I was actually doing and I actually enjoyed the freedom I was given, not having somebody always looking over my shoulder. The real work was being done behind the scenes by faceless, mostly non-black employees. As far as “diversity”, when a fellow employee told the top management of the company that I “might” be gay (he had no proof), I was called into the front office to be told the company was “down-sizing” and I had to be terminated (given a pittance of a severance package). Later, I found out that the guy who “outed” me actually got my position.

            I was at first impressed with Herman Cain’s “resume” and “track record” but the more he opens his mouth, shows his ignorance on so many issues, I am beginning to wonder if he wasn’t also more of a front man, a puppet to be controlled by Kraft (Godfather’s) and the NRA. He surely is carrying water for the Koch Brothers (brothah by a diffrent mutha!) now. So while he claims he pulled himself up by his own bootstraps, can anyone believe that Herman Cain’s rise through the corporate ranks was by merit alone? Remember he said during the civil rights demonstrations while he was in college, he didn’t join in with fellow students at Morehouse College (MLK’s alma mater) but instead did not wish to rock the boat, He says in his book he would do whatever a white man told him to do, even the bus drivers who told him to go to the back of the bus! Has he really changed but will he still do whatever the powerful whites who run the GOP tell him to do.

            Herman Cain talking in the “third person” is now revealing as if he is an ACTOR playing a part. Psychiatrists say that referring to oneself in the third person can often be a device to keep others away from the real “first person…IOW, I, me”. In the military, such reference is seen as deference to authority such as “Sir! Private Herman Cain requests persmission to speak to the drill instructor.” And don’t forget, “You don’t have Nixon to kick around any more.”

            Comment by grantinhouston | November 10, 2011 | Reply

  9. It’s disturbing that there is an effort to shut Cain’s accusers up without any investigation of the reality of their claims–and that many voters seem averse to hearing whatever the truth may be. It’s difficult for me to imagine how a self-respecting woman can be a Republican in the current environment, as I discuss in my blog, http://thepoliticali.blogspot.com/2011/11/women-republicans-does-not-compute.html

    Comment by Deborah Montesano | November 10, 2011 | Reply


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