Magazine article The Humanist

Editor's Note

Magazine article The Humanist

Editor's Note

Article excerpt

Well, I'll be damned. Alabama elected Democrat Doug Jones to the US Senate and sent the awful Roy Moore and his pistol packing. As I write, so many good people are basking in the thrill of victory in last night's special election that saw Jones--a former US attorney who in 2002 successfully prosecuted two KKK members for the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham--not only fill racist Jeff Sessions' seat, but beat a man who has said ending slavery was a mistake. Thank goodness. Because goodness trumped racism. Goodness trumped homophobia. It trumped theocracy. And yes, it trumped sexism and sexual predation.

We owe a debt of gratitude to the brave women who came forward with stories of Roy Moore's sexually predatory behavior toward them. The first was Leigh Corfman, who made a very difficult decision to share her story with Washington Post investigative reporters about how Moore initiated sexual encounters with her in 1979 when he was a thirty-two-year-old prosecutor and she was a fourteen-year-old girl. (We should also thank the three female reporters for breaking that story. May they all win Pulitzers!)

People wonder why women who've experienced sexual harassment or assault don't say something sooner, especially if the perpetrator is someone well known. And let's be honest, this wondering usually comes as a criticism. To understand why a woman would stay silent, consider that even though Roy Moore lost his Senate bid, a whole lot of people voted for him because they either didn't believe the women's accusations or they didn't care. If her experience of sexual harassment, impropriety, or assault aren't going to be believed or the man accused is unlikely to be held accountable, is it not understandable for a woman to make the decision to stay silent for the sake of her family, her job, or her own well-being? …

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