We’ve all been programmed to believe only women can be victims of sexual abuse, yet in our society we’ve seen examples to the contrary. After the Second Women’s Movement, many women who found themselves in positions of power became sexual aggressors, too.
Since the late Eighties/early Nineties, Hollywood has accentuated this reverse sexual abuse in Film. In the early 90s blockbuster, Disclosure, no one can ever forget the hot seduction seen where Demi Moore portrayed Michael Douglas’s sexual aggressive boss (and ex-lover). The plot point starts with an after-hours meeting when she makes advances towards him which he declines. Yet, when he makes a complaint, she accuses him of sexual harassment to out him from the company.
Glenn Close portrays a stunningly evil seductress in Dangerous Liaisons as the bored Marquise de Merteuil, whom uses her ex-lover, the Comte de Bastide played by John Malkovich, to reek havoc on the 1781 pre-Revolution Paris elite society. She cunningly creates several dubious plots to gain power over men and women in her social circle, singling out the virtuous Madame de Tourvel played by Michelle Pfeiffer as her target while using sex as her ultimate weapon of choice. This storyline was so popular that it was later retold in a modern version, Cruel Intentions (1999), with Sarah Michelle Geller, Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon.
In television, 90s hit show, Melrose Place taking on the subject when Andrew Shue’s character’s boss at the magazine tries to seduce him in an after-hour meeting, threatening his job if he didn’t capitulate to her demands. Even in the 70s one episode of One Day at a Time, Bonnie Franklin’s character hit on her young male secretary leading to his resignation after filing a complaint with her boss!
Obviously, the viewing audiences loved this woman abusing their power theme because Hollywood keeps coming back to the same territory again and again as if in some way, it empowered women!
In Politics, just yesterday, Kansas Congressional hopeful, Andrea Ramsey had to drop out of the race because of an unfortunate incident involving a male subordinate when she was the head of LabOne in Kansas City. Knowing the Democrats’ supposed newfound zero tolerance for sexual harassment allegations, she made the tough choice to end her campaign based on allegations.
It’s not just in power broker corporate positions where women have been dubbed the physical abuser in many personal relationships. Actress/model Tawny Kitaen was arrested for physically abusing her Cleveland Indians pitching husband, Chuck Finley back in 2002. She was arrested for beating him up and their divorce cited spousal abuse.
Who can forget Mary Kay Letourneau, a teacher in Seattle, Washington, who was convicted of statutory rape of her 12-year-old student in 1996? She had at least one child with her young paramour, conceived while she was out on parole, which led to her being re-incarcerated. This was clearly a gross abuse of teacher-student relations, which the legal system did rectify to an extent.
As you can see, this sexual abuse cuts both ways, kids. It’s equal abuse any way you cut it, but we’re always hearing about the male aggressors with higher fervor in our media than their female counterparts!
In truth, for this MeToo movement to be legitimate, it would have to include male victims of sexual harassment and power abuse. Will they step up to the plate and dump the female exclusivity? Only time will tell.