Well, it has been another big week for revelations of sexual harassment. What caught my interest this week was the Apologies From Another Sexual Planet that the men involved offered up.

Apology #1: Harvey Weinstein: “I came of age in the 60’s and 70’s, when all the rules about behavior and workplaces were different. That was the culture then.” Uh, no Harvey—it wasn’t. I put myself through college working as a secretary from the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies and unwanted sexual advances at the workplace (and other locations) were no more welcome then than they are now.

I was sorry to hear that author and political commentator Mark Halperin also has a history of sexual predation. I have enjoyed his books, his CNBC show with John Heilemann and his appearances on MSNBC. I have valued his political opinions and was happy for him last January when he and his long-time girlfriend welcomed a baby boy into their lives. Then this past week I learned that “for years it was an open secret” that Halperin made inappropriate sexual advances toward women who were his subordinates. His response? Along with denying some of the allegations, he added:

Apology #2: Mark Halperin: “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain.” How is it that he can only just “now understand” that it was inappropriate to press one’s (ahem) sexual organ against the shoulder of a young woman with whom he was having a business meeting? This from a man whose other perceptions and incisive analyses of the nuances of politics have made him famous and wealthy.

Our granddaughter, age 8, goes to a progressive school in Oakland, California. And when I say, progressive, I mean California Progressive. An example: this week “Crushes” were discussed in the second grade classroom. At dinner, Kamiko and her friend explained to her mother and me what a “crush” is and then enumerated the various crushes and cross-crushes in their class. It was both hilarious and encouraging. Maybe “inappropriate touching” will be on the agenda in fourth or fifth grade or later. Then, at any age, predators wouldn’t be able to pretend that they were only then discovering that it’s offensive to make unwanted sexual advances–period.




About Alexis

Alexis Rankin Popik, author of Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate, is an award-winning short story writer whose work has appeared in The Berkshire Review and Potpourri Magazine. She has penned numerous articles about local history that have been published in Connecticut Explored and the University of Connecticut School of Law and The Hartford Seminary publications. A former union organizer, Popik traveled the country educating shipyard workers about health and safety and founded a labor-management health plan before turning to writing fiction full-time. She lives with her husband in New England.
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