Attitude adjustment time

Attitude adjustment comes with experience if we are open to such change. Many years ago, I served on a jury hearing a case in which a man was charged with rape. His accuser had attended a company picnic to which spouses were not invited. At a point during the event, she and a male fellow worker disappeared together into the woods nearby. Her husband, coming to pick her up and drive her home, arrived earlier than expected and discovered the couple emerging from the woods arm in arm. She claimed that she had been sexually assaulted. The evidence overwhelmingly showed otherwise, and this jury found the defendant not guilty. We can imagine the conversation she and her husband had on that drive home.

We know that false accusations do happen sometimes. During that same period in our history, male school teachers occasionally found themselves accused of unwelcome sexual behavior by a student. Like many others, I condemned such unprofessional abuse of power, yet I also worried about the teacher who might be a victim of a false accusation made by a student.

But my attitude changed long ago. Becoming a father of three daughters and grandfather of five granddaughters has helped to place me squarely on the side of female victims of any advantage-taking by a male, particularly one in a position of authority or power. Such abuse has been so ingrained in our culture for so long, a shift in attitude refreshes one and brings hope for change. The “me-too” movement is long overdue.

Yes, some prominent people we have come to admire have been caught, and once we get over our shock, we celebrate the elevated public consciousness of this long-perpetuated sin.

Unfortunately, our national outrage has not made its way to the small minds of the few, the wealthy, the powerful, if it ever will. This is where the attitude adjustment is most needed.

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