6
December

When the “F” word is really offensive

I recently watched a clip of Kathie Lee Gifford speaking about fired TV journalist, Matt Lauer, on the Today show. Gifford was emotional and tearfully expressed shock about the recent reports that Lauer sexually harassed female employees by making lewd and unwanted sexual advances towards them, which created a stressful and traumatic work environment.

She went on to say that the man who had been accused of, and subsequently admitted to some of the accusations, was not the man she knew and loved over the years. And, while this is a textbook display of cognitive dissonance as it relates to how people often grapple to reconcile the reality that someone they know and even love is a sexual predator who has operated under their noses, it was the statements that followed that made me want to jump through the screen and slap her silly!

Gifford began to wax poetic about how “we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” and how “no one is perfect”. Then came her cry for mercy to be shown to those who prey on others by comparing sexually predatory behavior to bad behavior such as infidelity. The final rub was her call for forgiveness to be extended to Lauer and anyone else who is guilty of such behavior.

The entire 2:25 minute diatribe that started at the 3:30 minute mark vexed me in so many ways and created a whirlwind of thoughts to bounce off the walls of my mind. I was reeling with feelings of anger, frustration, disbelief, and an overall WTH attitude! I mean, did she really just sit there and suggest that a sexual predator should be granted immediate forgiveness and mercy by trying to convince us that Lauer’s actions are not the sum total of who he is as a person? Really? To that I say, BITE ME, Kathie!

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let’s consider the trauma that the victims of sexual predators experience at the hands of their abuser and then subsequently by law enforcement, friends and family, and society at large. The trauma of the abuse or violation creates life long emotional and psychological scars that remain well after any physical signs disappear.

The feelings of peace and safety being snatched away in the batting of an eye; the feelings of weakness and shame, the notion that the violation could have been avoided if only one had said, done, acted, or worn something different plays on a constant loop in the victim’s head for days, weeks, months, even years. They struggle with telling someone what happened because they wonder if they’ll be believed or be blamed for what was done to them. It lives with them and changes how they see the world and interact with everyone in their lives. But, Kathie and so many like her, want the victim and the rest of us to extend mercy and forgiveness! Again, really?

Nevermind the fact that in many instances these predators won’t even admit to their actions, nor do they even ask for forgiveness. And, if we want to consider the scriptures, we are to extend forgiveness once a person repents and asks for forgiveness. But even beyond that, why is it so easy for folks like Kathie to completely overlook the hell that the victim has experienced as they race to coddle the abuser? Why isn’t the pain and trauma the victim experienced the focal point of the conversation? Why are they so comfortable pleading for the abuser to be restored all the while sending a clear message to the victim to just forgive and get over it?

This lack of compassion and concern for the victim is a sickness within our society that has contributed to the pervasiveness of sexual violence and misconduct for hundreds of years. The lack of protection of the victim tells the predators that most folks really don’t care that deeply about the victims and the trauma that is caused by this deviant behavior. The immediate need to restore the predator is a green light for them to continue to act on their impulses because the penalty is almost nonexistent and they are often welcomed back into the community relatively quick, if they were even banished at all.

Admonishing the victim and those of us who believe predators should face extreme penalties for their actions is the equivalent of holding the victim down and watching the violation and then saying “it wasn’t that bad” when it’s over. By standing up and proclaiming that there is reason to explore the idea of redemption for these blackened souls, you spit in the face of the victim and try to convince them that it’s raindrops.

So again, I can’t help but scream “BITE ME” to every sexual assault apologist and those pushing the “forgive and move on mantra”. Take your tears and pleas and shove it! Your need to push forgiveness on the victim is cruel and unimaginably insensitive. You open up their wounds afresh with every syllable you utter. And, no matter how much you proclaim to be a Christian who loves Jesus and HIS word, you’re just as much a part of the problem as the predator!

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