I am not going to attempt to dissect the multitude of sexual harassment allegations consuming the news cycle lately; what I will take issue with is this so-called hush fund. Tax payer dollars being used to pay off accusers to make the issue go away.
Let me explain why I have been avoiding writing about this issue. I do not know these people personally, the accusers or the accused. Each of us knows that the bar for sexual harassment is different for different women. There have been a handful that offered indisputable proof of what took place and it appears the accused have been dealt with appropriately, however, most of the accusations that have been flying around are one person’s word against another’s. This is a no win situation. Guilty or not, public accusations of sexual harassment against a person, especially a man, follow one for life. Generally speaking, the mere existence of the accusation creates a presumption of guilt in the public eye. On the other side of the equation, albeit the timing of the accusations among other things have led to speculation regarding the credibility of many of the women and allegations coming out, how these women are treated publicly will have far-reaching implications for women who are victims of not just sexual harassment, but sexual assault, for many years to come. It is a difficult thing to come forward when you have been a victim of sexual harassment or assault, most women have feelings of humiliation and guilt associated with this type of victimization without adding to that an intense public scrutiny and putting their entire lives on trial. As such, without any actual knowledge or evidence beyond the accusations themselves, I will offer no opinion as to the validity of these allegations.
What I will choose to rant about is the fact that taxpayer dollars have been used to pay off accusers to make these types of issues among Congressmen go away quietly. Understanding that such a payoff does not translate into guilt, as in these types of situations it is often easier to simply buy an accuser’s silence than to have the allegations splashed across national news. Unfortunately, there are those out there who will threaten to make untrue accusations for some type of payoff, and for an elected official it is often more expedient to simply pay them off as it is almost impossible to prove a negative and thereby prove their innocence. However, if they choose this route, it should not be the American people making the payoffs. Our representatives are to be stewards of our tax dollars, not use them to protect their political futures. Our government has become too big to have any semblance of transparency and this has to change.
I have no idea who is actually guilty of the acts they have been accused or if any of them were simply being blackmailed. What I do know, is that they owe the American people about $17 million dollars and should be made to pay it back. They should also be removed from office, not because they may have committed sexual harassment, but because the stole money from the American people to cover up the accusations.