Be careful what you wish forBe careful what you wish for

As a supporter of the #MeToo movement and a former abuse victim, I can certainly agree with Greta Hyland, Leigh Washburn, and Marianne Mansfield. To quote Greta, “something has gone fundamentally wrong in this country.” We need to pay attention. Yes, women have been marginalized and maligned, but be careful what you wish for. For most of us, the label “sex offender” conjures up images of the Larry Nasser’s and Harvey Weinstein’s of the world. Men that prey on vulnerable women and girls who are not able to defend themselves by speaking up because they won’t be believed. Those men should be in prison for life. Women are angry.

Other more obvious forms of sexual bias have surfaced. Several years ago, when I first moved to St. George as a single mother, I began searching for a job. I was armed with a master’s degree and many years of experience in the fitness field. I was rewarded with several offers of P.E. teaching jobs, which didn’t appeal to me. I even tried to start an after-school physical activity class, although it was not what I wanted to do. It failed. That was fine with me, because I really wanted to work with adults. Finally, I was encouraged to pursue an open position for Director of Leisure Services. I was excited about the prospect, but didn’t get the job. When I asked why, I was informed that the position went to a “father that had five kids to support.” Nevermind that I was a single mother. I was angry.

My friend Craig, who is an appeals attorney, told me the story of the man who was serving a life sentence because he lifted a five-year old girl out of a truck and accidentally touched her breasts. The girl was fully clothed. Or how about the case in Salt Lake City many years ago when an entire neighborhood of men were accused of sexual abuse of minor female children? Most were the fathers of the accusers. Ironically, every victim had been working with the same female therapist. I don’t know if any of those men were ever able to get out of prison in their lifetimes. In another more recent case, one local registered sex offender had sexual intercourse with a woman to whom he has been married for almost 20 years. They have children together. At the time he was convicted, she was underage. The sex was consensual. To women I would say be careful what you wish for and tread carefully. Men are angry.

My spouse was telling me the story of a straight man who was solicited by gay man. The former turned down the latter, and the straight man is now being accused of “homophobia.” Gays are angry, too. A prosecutor in Cincinnati is asking a judge to let a 17-year-old boy live with his grandparents to escape his abusive, transphobic parents. Ditto for transgenders.

What alarms me is the vigilante-type justice that seems to be in vogue. More men are accused of sexual misdeeds daily. More women are accused of irrational behavior. No one really knows where the boundaries are. In the aftermath, there’s a whole lot of collateral damage. Some men are being accused of improper relationships with women. Whatever the outcome, the losers in some of these situations can be children, animals, and spouses who get caught in the crossfire of all the rhetoric. I applaud the brave women who have come forward to tell their stories. I’m glad more women are running for legislative positions. I’m glad that that we are marching for women’s rights, animal rights, and the environment. I’m glad that these issues are being discussed, even if there is a lot of malice involved. But there can be collateral damage. We are all angry and reactive. Be careful what you wish for. Just saying.

The viewpoints expressed above do not necessarily reflect those of The Independent.

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