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The Problem of Sexual Assault & Politics: Are We Losing Our Morality?

Between the finals stress and chronic news fatigue, I’ve noticed a pattern.

We can all agree across all lines that sexual misconduct is bad. Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad. Fortunately, we’ve seen people from all walks of life agree upon this when the accusations come from the entertainment industry. When the news about Louis CK, Kevin Spacey, and particularly Harvey Weinstein broke, everyone was shocked, rightfully angry, and demanded justice. We even got a trending hashtag on Twitter. Since their exposure, there have been many others in the entertainment industry that have been called out, and most of them have hung up their hats indefinitely. 

Similarly, in journalism, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly, and Matt Lauer, among others, have been made accountable for their inappropriate and criminal actions by the publications and studios they work for. But in politics, the offenders are still going to work, and nothing is being done. 

What is it about politics that makes people shun their morality? We have a man with several credible accounts of sexual assault with minors who is now ‘surging’ in the Alabama Senate polls. There’s a standing senator who has been photographed assaulting a sleeping woman, but he will not resign, and people are happy about it.  Apparently, people will willfully neglect these facts to keep a person who supports their ideology in office. Is it the same lesser of two evils argument that arose during the 2016 election? Many supporters of Roy Moore cite his opponent’s Pro-Choice stance as the reason they’re still voting for Moore. Democrats are downplaying Al Franken’s offenses, reframing them as “in another moral universe” as compared to other offenders in the news. It’s political hypocrisy at its worst. Whether it’s your ideological allies or those from across the aisle, the standard should still apply. Waiting over twenty years to finally reckon with Bill Clinton’s rape allegations is not going to cut it. 

If it’s wrong in entertainment and journalism, it’s wrong in politics. Don’t vote for people who have been credibly accused of or charged with sexual assault. We’re cracking down on that evilness in other industries – let’s extend that to Washington. 

 

Claire Biggerstaff is a senior at Davidson College where she's pursuing a major in English. Since her sophomore year, she's been heavily involved with Her Campus and has written for her school's chapter, interned with Her Campus Media, and eventually became the Editor in Chief of her home chapter. Her work as also appeared on publications like Babe.net and The Odyssey. When she's not researching news stories or holding editing workshops with her writers, you can find her enjoying an episode of The X-Files and thinking about how much she loves autumn.
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