Sexual misconduct rule misleads

Harvey Weinstein. Kevin Spacey. James Toback. Ben Affleck. Charlie Rose. Matt Lauer.

These are some of the men who have been accused of sexual misconduct over the last few weeks and the list is likely to keep growing.

As more people, mostly women, come forward with accusations claiming abuse and inappropriate actions from men more powerful than they are, society is beginning to question how we got here and what we can do to stop this harmful culture.

Although the victims telling the truth about their pain is a good step in calling out the people who are taking advantage of their power, others are citing “The Mike Pence Rule” as a way to stop sexual misconduct before it happens.

Originally created by Billy Graham in 1948, and endorsed by Vice President Mike Pence earlier this year, the Graham or Pence Rule states a man will never be alone with a woman who is not his wife and will not attend an event where alcohol is served when his wife is not present. These rules are to protect their marriage and to inhibit temptation or rumors.

Erick Erickson, blogger and pundit for Fox News, wrote on The Resurgent, “(The Graham Rule) keeps gossip from growing, prevents false accusations and respects my wife.”

While this rule could be a start for married men, this will not stop sexual misconduct as a whole. Additionally, this could create a problematic mindset.

This rule implies that instead of treating women as equals or peers, men should just avoid them.

The rule could also imply that women are more likely to be a man’s temptation or downfall than a person who deserves his respect.

While respectable that some men are choosing to go to these lengths to protect their marriage, it is not enough to stop our deeply rooted culture that condones or ignores sexual misconduct.

Katelyn Beatty wrote in The New York Times, “The Pence Rule arises from a broken view of the sexes: Men are lustful beasts that must be contained, while women are objects of desire that must be hidden away. If that’s the case, we have far deeper problems around men and power than any personal conduct rule can solve.”

Being alone with women is not the problem. We must look closely at how we portray women and men in today’s society.

Men are not incapable of controlling themselves and women are not objects to be used. Once we all understand that we can begin to change this culture that has recently been revealed.

About Alexandra Applegate


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