The Unsettling Truths of ‘Me Too’

By Al Perrotta Published on November 22, 2017

Seeing “Me, too” under the names of women I love and respect broke my heart. My first reaction was righteous anger, to be the noble knight. “Point me in the direction of the culprit that I may run him through!” Then I felt less righteousness, and more anger. More inner mobster. “Heaven help the pig if he’s ever within arm’s reach.”

To my surprise, I felt another feeling: Slight familiarity, a hint of empathy. For the victims. But also for some of the accused.

Power and Vulnerability

I will not say “Me too.” To do so would be to minimize what these women and girls and boys endure. I take fully to heart what Amy Swearer wrote in her gut-wrenching article for The Daily Signal detailing her sexual assault: “You. Don’t. Understand.” Correct, ma’am. I. Don’t. Understand.

What I can say is I have had experiences which leave me within range of kinda-sorta knowing what harassment is like. I worked as a server for my wife at a massive, multi-day catering gig for a Los Angeles buyers market. I went around with my cart and several male dealers hit on me pretty hard.

I tried to joke it off, “You know my wife is just down that hallway. You know, the red-headed Jersey Girl with the large knives?”

I was just a worker, knowing we needed the money, not wanting to cause a scene, not wanting to risk Rusty’s position. I felt more frustrated and exposed than I would have admitted at the time. I don’t know what it’s like to be a waitress getting sexually harassed, but I have a little idea.

I also have a teeny idea, a glimpse into what an unfortunate number of children go through. I somewhat get the kids in the Joe Biden videos.

In my early years at Rosecroft Elementary I had a couple teachers who fawned repeatedly, excessively over my eyes. Hovering over me, making a huge fuss about my eyes and eyelashes in class. Not once. But two, three, four times. “Ooh, Albert, your eyelashes are soooo long! And those big, brown eyes!” (I discovered years later that one of those teachers had actually gushed about my eyes in an official school record.)

It felt different than compliments I got from my aunts. The repetition left me embarrassed, uncomfortable, rattled and incredibly self-conscious. I cannot be sure, but I think that’s when I stopped looking people in the eyes. 

Again, I don’t know what little girls and boys have experienced. But I have seen a step or two down the road.

What about the view from the other direction?

A Little Weinstein in Us All

In the past couple weeks I’ve written several stories about the assorted sordid sex harassment scandals. It’s been easy talking about the horrible ogres and their alleged crimes. It’s been easy to condemn the Hollywood and political machines that helped enable this behavior for decades.

I have to come off my high horse. I recognize how easy it is to fall off that horse.

No, I haven’t sexually harassed anybody. But I do have to wonder: had I been in a position in L.A. where countless gorgeous women were coming to my office every day wanting something from me, would I have been tempted to take advantage? Mistake their professional need for personal desire?

If I were a director having to choose between two actresses, would I be more likely to pick the one willing — even eager — to go out with me? If everyone in town is telling me what a genius I am, handing me little trophies every year for my latest brilliant work, would I start thinking Pretty Young Things are my trophies as well?

I pray to God no. I’d like to think no. Especially once I was married. But to pretend I know for sure is hubris and folly.

The mirror can be as scary as a Clive Barker movie.

Did I honor and cherish in all purity all the women in my life? Did I treat them all biblically? Treasure in the manner we’re commanded to treasure? No. Sadly no. “Oh, but that was before you really were a Christian.” To that I say, “Shut up, devil. You’re just making excuses.” I hope wherever they currently walk they forgive me.

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Recognizing the Power

So what do we do? The feminists are saying men must state what they’re going to do to stop the “rape culture.” A better question is, “What are we going to do about the sin culture?” We are fallen creatures, enslaved to our flesh. The line from gentleman to jerk is nowhere as long as we like to tell ourselves.

Human nature is deeply flawed. No one is righteous, not one. (Rom. 3:9–18; Mark 7:14–23). We must remain vigilant, self-aware, in prayer and full of the Holy Spirit. And not believe our own press, whether it’s “I’m invincible, I can do anything” or “I’m wonderful, I’d never do anything.”

We also hear the experts and analysts say with sexual harassment, it’s not about sex. It’s about power.

Here Jesus offers a way through.

but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (Mark 10:43-45)

You are not to be domineering over those in your charge, but instead be examples to the flock.

To put it another way: It’s hard to get on a power trip if you have a servant’s heart.

When it’s less about “Me” we will see less “Me, too.”

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  • Paul

    “If I were a director having to choose between two actresses, would I be more likely to pick the one willing — even eager — to go out with me?”

    This scenario begs the question what responsibility if any do victims bear for their own conduct. It’s easy to yell ‘don’t blame the victim!!’ but I read some of the acusations against Ron Jeremy and I’m left to ask these women ‘what on earth were you thinking?’ I’m not excusing that disgusting man, but choosing to get naked alone with a porn actor in a bathroom with the expressed purpose of sexually arousing him is a really stupid thing to do if you don’t want a sexual encounter.

    I know women who have chosen to proverbially sleep their way to the top, are they victims or manipulators of those in power? And if their manipulations don’t work out are they simply victims? My father who was in upper corporate management warned me from his experience of women who try to leverage sex in their careers, and even the Bible warns of such seductions. That doesn’t excuse men who leverage their positions of power over women, but I’m saying there are times where there is more to the story where the victims may bear some responsibility for their own actions and situations.

  • Hmmm…

    Reading the article and first comment accent that each case is different and should be assessed on its own merits. The really, really good news about all of this — have you seen it like this – is that a national epidemic, it turns out, is being addressed. A national sin is being exposed, and examination and repentance is taking place. I’ll include that on my thanksgiving list this year. Perhaps this can cause men and women whose hearts have become a bit tenderized by this to become open to hearing from God and his word. May good church attending begin to increase. May the words of the scripture and exhortations from God’s people reflect love and caring to our hurting fellow national fellows in this season.

  • Howard Rosenbaum

    It’s sad , all these recent revelations of rude, reprehensible, rotten & repulsive, repugnant behavior. it also should not catch anyone by surprise. It’s as Mr Perrotta suggests, a condition of the heart. The heart of a man disenfranchised from the characteristic holiness of a redemptive God is not a “safe place” for sensually arousing subordinates . Not even Jesus was immune from the temptation of sexual impropriety. It’s just that He never gave the opportunity a SECOND thought ! How much more difficult must it be for the one whose nature it is to exploit compromise when it rears it tempestuous head ? So stop w/the pretentious patronizing pomposity from those who seek to politicize these so easily inclined to the practice of prurient ambitions. ( more fun w/alliteration )
    Theres no need for virtue signaling. By virtue of our humanity , we are all prospective deviates when w/in a disproportionate balance of power such opportunity can often be just one wrong step away. Bottom line, When culture, morality , ethics & the fear of reprisal won’t prevent sexual exploitation , something ( or someone ) greater than these natural defenses can & will. We who have “tasted & seen that The Lord is good” must have our appetites conditioned to prefer the “bread of life” over the nutrient deficient “finger food” of the flesh. Perhaps one repercussion for those caught in their compromise will be a healthy reappraisal of the condition of their soul & hopefully a desire for a more satisfying & fulfilling diet ….

  • Chip Crawford

    It’s good it’s happening, a genuine phenomena no one has had a chance to really manipulate yet. Hopefully, strong measures come to place in this opening wind of right feeling and considered thinking. The removal of the unbelievable Congressional fund paying their harassment and assault claims is underway. May that actually and quickly cease, and right decisions made about revealing those who have benefited on behalf of that fund. Legalities are a factor since they have non disclosure agreements … Those who bring claims are immediately put into counseling and have several other hurdles to go through before their claim can actually be lodged. Again, a part of the swamp most were not even aware of, must truly be drained and right laws put in place to govern our very lawmakers rightly and responsibly. Am I the only one that is thinking about the verse in Luke 12 that secret, whispered type things will be proclaimed. May God have and maintain these adjustments and usher in more that will go toward his revealing his truth and willingness to care for and guide all who are caught in these snares.

  • A. Castellitto

    As long as nobody is above the law and this is not a product of political, new world order agenda where the most heinous and powerful are exempt….from Fox News:

    “A little-known law has been on the books for more than a decade that gives anyone accusing a federal lawmaker of sexual harassment the right to sue – but only if they consent to a lengthy drawn-out process that includes a written statement within 180 days of the incident, 30 days of counseling and another month or so of mediation.

    During that time, the claimant’s employer will be notified. The lawmaker’s identity, however, will remain confidential even if he or she is found guilty.

    Should there be a settlement – and there have been many – it’s the American taxpayer that’s on the hook, with “no public disclosure and no consequences for the harasser,” said California Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier. ”

    ….and we are worried about Moore…. ???

  • A. Castellitto

    Watch Conspiracy of Silence: The Franklin Cover Up documentary to see how depraved and compromised both major political parties have become

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