Commentary: Sexual harassment leaves lasting emotional scares

Commentary: Sexual harassment leaves lasting emotional scares
November 30
09:00 2017

It seems theses days that men are dropping off like flies. Their acts of wrong living have finally caught up with them.

Sexual harassment is nothing new. It just didn’t come on the scene yesterday. Women and some men have been victims of sexual abuse for years and have not fought back. Their voices remained silent while their minds were crying out. It is only in recent years that women have become empowered and emboldened.

I will not visit the past but will go straight to the present. Men like Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and Bill Cosby used their power to control women and have them to commit acts against their will. It especially pains me to mention Bill Cosby in this negative light because at one point in his career, he was America’s dad.

Many years ago during my graduate school days, I had the opportunity to meet Bill Cosby and play tennis with him. To see his name and his reputation ruined like it has been is sad.

The men I have mentioned probably never thought their acts of sexual misconduct would ever see the light of day. Why?  I believe it was a combination of reasons.

First and foremost, I believe these men exercised great power over their victims. Women were simply too afraid to speak out. Second, money, and I mean great amounts of money, played a role in keeping some of them quiet. Third, I believe they were so threatened they just didn’t say anything. Fourth, they became introspective and asked the question, who would believe them? Their answer, until recently, was nobody.

While there are other reasons, I believe the above-mentioned reasons were certainly in the mix.

The past few weeks have brought about apologies from men who have been called out and made ashamed. Former comedian and now U.S. Sen. Al Franken apologized to former model and now radio talk show host Leann Tweeden. Just days ago, CBS fired newsman Charlie Rose because of his inappropriate behavior with women.

These two men recognized they were the problem. Did they apologize because they got caught? Yes.

Now we come to men who steadfastly refuse to apologize and they admit no wrongdoing. Let us start with Roy Stewart Moore, former Alabama state judge who was removed from the Alabama Supreme Court for not upholding the United States Constitution. He is now running for the U.S. Senate seat in Alabama and has been accused of lewd behavior by several women.

Despite these comments from women, Moore admits to nothing. This has been his constant refrain. His wife is standing by her man in this scandal that is threatening his election bid. Do you think Roy Moore is guilty of sexually assaulting women? Based upon the information I have read and listened to, I believe he is guilty. There are a lot of people who share my opinion. The polls are getting closer between Moore and Doug Jones, the Democratic candidate. Who wins? We will just have to wait and see.

The topic of sexual assault was given a lot of attention by the 45th president of the United States of America [Donald Trump]. Mr. T has been in denial for years even though countless women have come forward over the years. Mr. T has always maintained his innocence.

Sexual wrongs have followed him into the White House and is his everyday companion. He sides with Moore simply because he says that Moore says he didn’t do it. It is clear Mr. T lives in a world of denial.

There are men and women of both parties asking about the impeachment process, some silently but asking nonetheless. Many Republicans are greatly disappointed in his lack of presidential character and integrity. He just doesn’t have it and it is too late for him to get it.

Women and men are speaking out daily against sexual assault and abuse. Cases and charges against men and some women have only just begun. Our society is inching closer to equal rights and greater respect for women. Coalitions of men and women must band together to stamp out this vile element that has long plagued our world. Work places for women cannot be places where they are afraid and intimidated.

Respect for each other starts in our homes and in our schools. Respect and civility must be the rule and not the exception.

We can change this crude behavior. When we do, we will reap the rewards and our places and spaces will become better.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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