Abuse of Power

28 Sep

When the President does it, that means that it’s not illegal.

The abhorrent words of former President of the United States, Richard Nixon, they seem to be a rather fitting opening to this post.

There are two sayings that I’ve always appreciated:

‘With great power comes great responsibility’ – Voltaire

Power can come in many different guises. The power of a relationship dynamic, that which a manager has over their subordinates or even the power a well known public figure has over those who look up to them. I have always felt quite strongly that any powers should never be abused, I think we can all agree on that, right? As an ideal, not abusing one’s position of power seems to be a winner.

My personal hate is Men who use their power – my experiences teach me it is predominantly men, though Women are no less capable of this –  to behave sexually inappropriately towards others. The range of sexual inappropriateness spans from rape at one extreme, through groping to unwanted verbal advances at the other; I don’t really see grey areas, wherever it falls on the spectrum, it’s all wrong and very few things fill me with such rage as hearing accounts from female friends of this happening to them. I’ve stood up in the past and defended those on the receiving end of this, put myself at risk to challenge vile behaviour and it’s something I’d like to think I would always do…but it’s not that easy.

This brings me onto my next quote that I’ve always appreciated:

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? (Who watches the Watchmen?)

The moral arbitrators walk amongst us these days.  They pass judgement of every aspect of our reality: they inform us what we should be thinking and who we should support; we empower them with our time, our respect and, often our adulation and, in return, they tell us what’s what. The glare from the spotlight of scrutiny that they shine so mercilessly on others is so bright that rarely does the mirror turn back to face them…this doesn’t last forever, sometimes the mirror does indeed catch a glimpse:

“I have personally witnessed a prominent person getting disturbingly touchy-feely with women and getting away with it, despite the knowledge of nearly everyone who knows him. What’s more I’m willing to bet that you know who I am talking about from just reading the previous sentence.” – Source: Michael W Story

I wholeheartedly support Michael’s post and it’s sentiment. I share his sense of disbelief that something so widely known has been so easily accepted amongst a group of people who would challenge it with all their efforts if it was encountered elsewhere.

We watch the Watchmen.

We should not build a cult of silence around these people, this person, because of who they are. Sexual Harassment is wrong, pure and simple! It doesn’t matter who the person is doing it, in the eyes of the law we are all equal. Richard Nixon still broke the law, him being President of the US didn’t mean anything.

I sincerely hope the women who have suffered at the hands of this person come forward and speak out. I am confident there are witnesses a plenty, credible people who will support your accounts. Infact, Michael himself states:

For all the fact that this has pissed me off a huge amount, I am wary of naming the offending person. He’s someone with a lot of clout, someone who could make life very difficult for anyone who identified him. I feel it’s up to someone whom he has victimised to make that call, but if that’s you and you are reading this then I will absolutely back you up.

My guess, like michael’s, is that no one will. That is perhaps understandable, but unless you challenge the bully, the behaviour is only likely to continue. If you speak out, others will probably follow. You can stop this happening again.

Read More

Carman Gets Around: My Busy Weekend (Point 3)

Tessera: Bullies and Predators 

Hayley Stevens: Gossip, Skeptics and the Mystery Man


5 Responses to “Abuse of Power”

  1. Nicola Davies (@NicDaviesUley) October 2, 2012 at 11:07 am #

    Glad to hear you intervene – so many people are afraid to. This could have been two blogs…..and makes me just want to know more about what you think on these topics. Be really interesting to explore abuse of power (general) and then abuse of power (sexual). Powerful people don’t just get away with sexual harassment, they get away with allsorts of inappropriate behaviour, verbal abuse, discrimination, victimisation. I’d like to think it happens a lot less than it used to, certainly in my working life it has changed a great deal.



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