Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews

Accused and bystanders caught foot in mouth on sexual misconduct allegations

The Producers Guild has instituted a lifetime ban on Weinstein from holding membership in the organization. “This unprecedented step is a reflection of the seriousness with which the Guild regards the numerous reports of Mr. Weinstein’s decades of reprehensible conduct,” the guild said in a statement. “Sexual harassment can no longer be tolerated in our industry or within the ranks of producers guild membership.”

Did you spot the gaffe?

“can no longer be tolerated” – In other words: We always knew about this and tolerated it, but no longer. An admission of complicity. It’s not clear, however, if this is a confession or a slip of the tong/keyboard.

Besides, it is unhelpful overkill to insinuate that after such a life, repentance is impossible. I wouldn’t hold my breath until Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump give courses on how to spot and corner a serial sexual abuser, but it is another thing to declare it impossible.

They also intimate that this problem is not just Weinstein and a few others, but wide-spread. Yet, hardly any other Hollywood figures have been accused besides Weinstein. If this scandal is anything like the Catholic Church sex scandal, we haven’t seen anything yet.

Actor Kevin Spacey, claiming to be “beyond horrified,” tried his hand at publically issuing “the sincerest apology” about being accused of a constitutional rape attempt of a 14-year old beginning male actor, 32 years ago.

But then he messed up three-fold.

  1. He claims not to remember – instead of saying that he would start searching his brain.
  2. He says that he was drunk, practically deflecting any blame.
  3. Simultaneously, he now comes out as gay. That is the gravest of the three things he said and he is widely attacked for it – and rightly so.

Famous people coming out still deserve admiration and credit but not when they use it to claim that “the orientation did it” or to change the conversion from sexual abuse accusation to their own oppressed status. Meanwhile giving ammunition to present gay haters and to the old prejudice as if gays are typically child molesters. He throws gays under the bus associating gay sexual orientation with pedophilia and rape.

There is some speculation and fishing if this was his only sexual misconduct. Meanwhile, more once-young men have come forward.

In any case, it took only one accusation to end his career because of how he reacted. There is a lot to learn about how to do this better. And I’m not the only one teaching. See also *IHave (admissions), #IWill: promises to improve.

The latest from the US: Ronan Farrow Faced Intimidation While Exposing Harvey Weinstein. NY assigns sex crimes prosecutor to Weinstein case. Spacey dumped by Netflix, police home in on Weinstein.

In the UK they don’t have Hollywood so the head fall in the political arena.

Public men resign or are fired for putting their hand on someone’s knee without consent once decades ago, no trial needed or possible anymore. Is this a very high standard, or is this because there’s much more down the line?

In the Netherlands, #metoo also caught on. The discussions there, however, are completely different from in the English-speaking world.

A well-known Dutch media man accused another one of attempted rape when he came to work at a TV program. Yet, the accused denies and the story of the accuser sounds not believable at all, and not just to me. This is very tricky, because denial of accusations could be an aggravation of the abuse. The victim being raped all over again. Yet, “trial by media” is no alternative for the real courts.

Therefore, the discussions in the supposed culture of tolerance deal more with who is telling the truth and there are two sides to every story, and with discussing the discussing, than that massive scandals are coming to the fore. Even looking at how these discussions go in other countries are in focus. (Use Google Translate for reading the links.)

In the Dutch debate is being mentioned repeatedly that:

  • For sexual transgression one need to insist on sex while at that moment the other doesn’t want it while one is aware of that. Thinking back and regretting sex does not make it a violation.
  • An initial permission does not override the other changing his/her mind. So, you need to watch out all the time if the one you have sex with still is willing.
  • Bodily sexual signs (erection, moistness) do not mean willingness.

This is so complicated.

Decades ago the slogan in the Netherlands was “When a girl says no, she means: no.” (Try to teach that to Fred Aster. All these old movies are pure harassment with a smile.) Maybe it’s time for a new slogan. “Before being intimate, each should sign that they want that. Those written agreements should stay within reach so that each can take it back at any time. Proceeding without further agreement could come to haunt you.”

Meanwhile the debate continues and much useful information comes up. Why victims complain so late, and take it seriously. On the other hand, many women start saying that celebrating victimhood brings a powerlessness that no one needs. One even suggested on TV: Maybe being accosted by a powerful man is just something to learn to deal with over the years.

With all these discussions on theory and principle and hardly any allegations, is there then no serious sexual exploitation or intimidation at work in the Low Countries? Or is even the tip of the iceberg there still under water?

What may help is that in Europe there is no statute of limitations for sexual offenses against minors.

The Netherlands’ culture has become secular. Young people can have sex whenever they want and more and more of them (boys and girls) decide to stay virgin until they meet their first partner in life – not to squander sex on passing friends. Just like many don’t do drugs, don’t visit prostitutes or use porn because it’s legal. (Yet, alcohol’s a problem.)

Another thing that is special in the Netherlands is that the norm there is: only guilty when convicted, and once received their punishment, they paid their debt to society, and we should let it go, let them reintegrate.

Not all is rosy. The World Economic Forum just announced that the Netherlands in unequal-ness between men and women fell from place 16 (last year) to place 32.

In Israel also no avalanche of sexual revelations. Maybe because on average, women here tend to be a bit more “bitchy.” Or perhaps because the laws against sexual harassment here are very strict (if she feels violated she was!). Or possibly it’s because we’ve seen it all before, when our former president needed to resign and went to jail for rape. Someone now reports a case of 54 years ago. Is that all there is? (Not implying that doesn’t sound bad.)

And a substantial section of Israeli society has no mingling of the sexes. That often works preventative and also makes sexual abuse stand out because any physical contact, staring at or seclusion with is outside the norm. (Not saying that rape is impossible within the marriage, sadly.)

A major problem with the whole #metoo campaign is that it gives food to the old myth that most abusers lurk outside, while we know from therapy that most sexual abusers come from inside the family home. Stranger danger has long been put in its place. #metoohome is in order.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to two Dutch survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork, and holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam). He taught Re-evaluation Co-counseling, became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a vegan for 8 years now. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His most influential teachers (chronologically) are: his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach and lehavdiel bein chayim lechayim: Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff and Rav Meir Lubin. * Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years he wrote hasbara for the Dutch public. His fields of attention now are varied: Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (statistics), Politics (Israel, the US and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight Truth), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, GLBTQAI, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), Ecology and Veganism. Sometimes he's misunderstood because he has such a wide vision that never fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what many love about him. Many of his posts relate to affairs from the news or the Torah Portion of the Week or are new insights that suddenly befell him. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, reassure the doubters but make the self-assured doubt more. He strives to bring a fresh perspective rather than bore you with the obvious. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds must be disputed. In short, his main political positions are: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, democracy, anti the fake peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, Science, Free Will, anti blaming-the-victim and for down-to-earth optimism. Read his blog how he attempts to bridge any discrepancies. He admits sometimes exaggerating to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quit a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. November 13, 2018, he published his 500st blog post with the ToI. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having a peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. To see other blog posts by him, a second blog - under construction - can be found by clicking on the Website icon next to his picture.
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