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$35,000 Worth of Raising Cain and Passing the Buck

Herman Cain and the circus at Penn State have just plain ticked me off. Outside of the obvious, you know why? Because men and the women who want their approval have been saying ‘Ain’t no big thing’ for entirely too long.

I can write it now because nobody cares about this story anymore.

Let’s just say I had friend….

This friend drove out to Point Robinson Park about two years after it happened, where it happened, and was happy to see that the look out bridge was broken in two and there was heavy overgrowth all around it. Metaphorically speaking it looked like it couldn’t happen to anyone else ever again. It looked like the moment was closed.

That bridge, that look out spot, is the place where she stopped after a hard week of work and paused to reflect. He had said to her, ‘Come take a walk with me.’ It seemed slightly less innocent than when he said ‘Let’s throw the ball around ‘ and started to throw a football. That moment had seemed slightly less innocent than when he said to her at the Malt Shoppe. ‘I have knots in my stomach and I don’t think I want to go home.’ The week had been filled with more of the vague disenchantments he always shared about how he didn’t really care for his wife and off handed comments from him about kissing and condoms. Each time she rebuffed them trying to allow them both their dignity by shadowing with humor. ‘I don’t ever want there to be a cautiousness between us’ he had stated. To that, she ardently and stridently said, ‘Look, I’m here to work’. She was, at the time, married and regularly intimate with her husband with whom she was very much in love. But let us also note at the beginning of this story that she did not take care of herself very well, or hold herself in any kind of high regard.

Nonetheless, there on that bridge, my friend suddenly found he had moved behind her and was massaging her back as if it was an appendage of his. You know, that one that can get stiff if a hand touches it.

She froze. "Don’t turn around"’ she thought to herself. Whatever you do, don’t turn around’". It seemed like hours before he stopped. She has never doubted what would have happened if she’d turned around. She’d been raped when she was eight.

He was waiting for her to protest so he could get her into position. He was going to pull a Herman Cain and a Penn State with a pass completion.

Because they had worked together for years, she gave him the benefit of the doubt. She had been well groomed. Confused and conflicted doesn’t even begin to describe what she felt. She reported it to two of his ranking superiors immediately. And she went out to meet with his wife and him to tell them to stop dragging her into their mess.

By now she felt like someone had put her in a washing machine on spin and kept lifting the lid. What did this have to do with work? How could she have not seen this coming?

Suddenly she was offered a position from the organization in which they both worked. A great position. A position that was going to put her in the position of breaking a gender barrier. And if she didn’t want that one, "We’ve got three others from which you can choose".

Innocent that she was she didn’t realize it was hush money. The position was with an organization that had gone through huge turmoil in the previous years. She sorted things out at the local level but then the short men decided she was a threat (she being tall) and after she told one he couldn’t kiss her, and another woman she would be better off not having an affair… well the brown stuff hit the fan. She was not at all hushed. Both of those people, by the way, were victims of childhood sexual abuse. It’s the gift that keeps on giving if you don’t deal with the trauma.

This part is important because when she filed a formal complaint they used a bunch of that stuff against her. That’s what they do to victims who complain. They discredit, malign and shut you off at the pass. The larger organization had over three hundred complaints of assault and harassment the year she reported. No one at the top did anything. In fact the biggest sex offender embezzled the money they gave him for therapy. When they found out what did they do? They threw him a beautiful going away reception when he resigned as they asked him to. Why? Because "He’s such a nice guy and we really like him" was the response from the regional supervisor. The man had not only sexually assaulted hundreds of women but also all four of his daughters. He was a professor of Hermeneutics and Homiletics.

Please understand Herman Cain really believes he didn’t do anything. It’s called dissociation. That Sandusky guy really believes it was just horseplay that got out of hand. And they are all really nice guys. That’s how they operate

And the women that knew? They’re just as bad. In my friend’s situation there was one enormous woman whose career was her life and she was eager to label my friend a ‘man hating feminist’. Later the men made her the executive of the organization (after the guy who had assaulted my friend and was promoted to supervisor of the region moved of to other parts of the state.Years later the guy’s wife was arrested and convicted for embezzling $15,000 from a Senior Citizen’s Arts Fund).

Two more women reported to this female executive. The same man had raped them both. She stepped down from any decision making process because ‘she had a conflict of interest’. No sh*t Sherlock. The husband of the executive’s secretary was the man accused of the rapes. But the real reason was she had no cahones. Is that how they’re spelled?

The therapist who headed the investigative committee, did he offer support? No, actually he circulated one woman’s documents to the population she served outside of the investigative committee. Shameless. All of it shameless voyeurism.

It’s time for men and women to step up to the plate. Take Herman Cain into account.

To those men who fired some men at Penn State, it’s a start. Unfortunately we don’t know if that was just public pressure or some clear sense of morality and justice.

But you ordinary men have to raise your consciousness. Don’t go out in the woods drumming or read ‘Iron John’ again. That got no one anywhere. Just own up to your own sexual desires. And no ancient feminists, it’s not about power to them, it’s about sex. Men love to have sex. To men sex is life, not power.

My friend? She spent 15 years being blackballed in the cruelest way possible. They kept telling her ‘if you do this, we’ll correct all this’. When she would accomplish that task they would move the bar again. They did that for ten years. And then she dropped the rope. She had another degree she could use in early childhood rather than her theology degree.

Five years later one man apologized and to this day is actively seeking to bring her career, her calling back into active service. God bless him.

Her children were irretrievably damaged with a dozen lost years of their lives in the ensuing turmoil. She received no compensation. She gained eighty pounds so she wouldn’t be attractive to a man (dumb meaningless solution to ‘not the problem’). And nowadays… she’s more wary.

If you’re a victim, RECOGNIZE, RESIST & REPORT. If you’re a man… man up, police yourselves. Call each other to higher ground from childhood. And if you’re a woman defending one of these men… stop it.

How does this person I know feel today? For the first time since August 1991, I feel free. I just wish I would have known I could have gotten $35,000.