As I’ve written before, sexual predators are able to keep at it because of rape culture. The cumulative effects of a thousand different strains of thought (we can’t let people think this happens in our church! We can’t let a good man be ruined just for one little mistake! It was his first rape, we’ll hit him with serious penalties on #2). It gets even worse when the predators are in a position of authority or standing, giving other people in authority a reason to side with the predator, instead of defending the prey.
When Larry Nassar’s long history of abusing his gymnast patients became public, it was described as victims breaking the silence. But they hadn’t been silent: they’d been reporting Nassar’s actions for years. At the link, a look at how Nassar managed to fool his patients and their parents. Institutional instincts worked to his advantage: USA Gymnastics reported him to the FBI but still kept him as a health provider a year later. And Nassar’s not the only doctor whose career continued despite years of abuse allegations.
For one horrifying case, consider Jeffrey Epstein, Florida multimillionaire. Florida law enforcement put together a case he routinely raped underage girls and had done so for years. The prosecution, headed by Trump cabinet member Alexander Acosta, settled, violating a law that they had to notify the victims first. Epstein got a few years minimum security for having sex with child prostitutes (which as noted at the link implies the victims were all hookers), and was allowed to leave the jail and go his office during the day. And while Acosta deserves flak, the systemic failure is much more widespread. In New York, where Epstein spent part of his time, prosecutors tried to convince a judge that Epstein shouldn’t have to register as a sexual predator (the judge, I’m happy to say, said he did).
Abuse is widespread among Independent Baptist churches and once again, some pastors cover up for other pastors or shift them from church to church (while they don’t have the formal hierarchy Catholics do, a lot of pastors know each other and are willing to lend a helping hand). Slacktivist adds some perspective.
Or consider the Boy Scouts of America, which has been sued for ignoring abuse allegations leveled at Scoutmasters.
Or the possibility that harassment is widespread in academia but covered up to protect powerhouse professors.
Or consider Clint Eastwood’s ex, Sondra Locke, who died last week. She was an actor and a director, but the obits defined her as Eastwood’s ’embittered’ ex. And she had reason to be embittered, as Eastwood abused her and treated her like shit. Jezebel adds more, such as articles mentioning Locke’s abortion but not her claim Eastwood pressured her into getting them. To make it clear, he isn’t as horrifying as Nassar or Epstein, but that’s a low bar to clear.
And then there’s Woody Allen; Hollywood Reporter just published an interview with the sixteen-year-old he was sleeping with (when he was 41) in a real-life analog to Manhattan. Though Englehardt, the young model in question, is very definite she was making her own choices, not being coerced.
As I’ve said before, we’re still a long way from making it unsafe to be a predator. Particularly a predator at the top of the food chain.