It was NOT a quiet week in Lake Wobegon.
Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor made The List, joining Harvey Weinstein, Mark Halperin, Charlie Rose, Roy Moore, Michael Oreskes, Glenn Thrush, John Conyers, Bill O’Reilly, et cetera, ad nauseam. And they’re just the headliners. This year.
Every day I read newspaper accounts about women delivering business papers to their bosses in hotel rooms, only to discover that man standing there stark naked or in his tighty-whiteys (which is NEVER a great look under any circumstance). Or entering his spacious office on the 45th floor, then being groped, flashed or worse.
This past week, Quinnipiac University released a poll showing that 60% of American women voters say they’ve experienced sexual harassment. This past week, I learned about a Congressional Hush Fund— underwritten with our money!
The word for this awful behavior is “predation.” When I Googled the word, I read: “Predation: the action of attacking or plundering, the old story of male predation and female vulnerability.” Old story indeed.
In the past this type of behavior was labeled “sexual misconduct,” which sounds more like a misdemeanor than an act of violent assault. Everyone knows that “predators” are invariably repeat offenders. “It” doesn’t happen just once. Take Harvey Weinstein (PLEASE). That man was a predator for decades.
Of all the horrific accounts, I was especially appalled to learn about Matt Lauer’s automatic door lock. Picture the scene: a pretty woman enters Lauer’s office. He likes what he sees. He clicks the button and the door locks. She can’t get out. She is trapped.
We know he personally didn’t install that door lock. The highest paid employee of “The Today Show” did not walk into 30 Rock toting a tool kit and an electronic door lock from Home Depot. There had to be an invoice that went to the Billing Department for parts and labor, that was then approved and paid. The overnight cleaning people who dusted Lauer’s desk had to have spotted it. It can’t have been a secret.
But Savannah Guthrie and Hodie Whoeversheis and Al Roker were SHOCKED to learn of Lauer’s predilections. Shocked? I don’t think so.
Who knows who will make The List in the coming days and weeks? Will we all be “shocked and appalled” again? I take hope in words I read in a recent article in THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY.
The article read, “The most remarkable thing about the current tide of sexual assault and harassment accusations is not their number. If every woman in America started talking about the things that happen during the course of an ordinary female life, it would never end. Nor is it the power of the men involved: History instructs us that for countless men, the ability to possess women sexually is not a spoil of power; it’s the point of power. What’s remarkable is that these women are being believed.”
As they should be. Finally. Hear them roar.