Sunday, August 4, 2013

Politicians and Sexual Exploitation


Hi everyone! I'm Safra, the new co-editor! I hope you like my articles.
Sexual exploitation refers to the illegal activity of people in commanding or powerful positions that use their abilities to abuse those with seemingly lower statuses, and Mayor Bob Filner is certainly no stranger to that. As of mid-July this year, Bob Filner, current mayor of San Diego, was put under heavy scrutiny after sexual harassment allegations were made against him. It was said that among the voters to remove him from office was his 2005 deputy campaign manager, who explained that Filner at one point “patted her buttocks." She was one of more than seven women who spoke out about his advances towards them. Among the others who reported about their encounters were a Navy Rear Admiral, a Dean at San Diego State University, and his former communications director. Filner's former communications director has filed a lawsuit claiming he has made several inappropriate remarks. Those of which include asking her to work without underwear, asking for kisses, and expressing his desire to see her naked. Sadly, Filner refuses to renounce his title as mayor, and as compensation, he has decided to check into therapy. A synopsis of the current situation can be found using this link Filner Allegations and for his full Allegation Response.
Now, it is easy for anyone to feel unnerved about entrusting someone who easily shows disrespect towards women in an office setting. But let’s get one thing clear; Filner has been exceptionally successful in life. He has a prestigious background as a Cornell Alumnus, a former Freedom Rider, and a US Representative for California’s 50th and 51st Congressional Districts. After a 10-year term in the government fighting as a representative for the state of California, how is it that anyone should know of his inappropriate behavior? That is the point. We never know someone’s intentions or motives. Anyone could be guilty of sexual harassment even if they come from the best of places or have done the most noble of things.

This applies to both men and women: Tip #1) This doesn’t mean to be distrustful of others, but it is important that one should always be cautious of another’s behavior.
Tip #2) If someone has ever addressed you in an inappropriate manner do not wait like these women to speak up. Each decided to speak up only after others did.

Sexual harassment and the damage it can cause is not only physical. Its effects run much deeper and as a result can lead a lack of self-confidence, the loss of faith in the people or system around them, and overall discomfort. Other effects include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Insomnia, Sleep Terror Disorder, and more which can be found at the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network Website.

However, how do we know what is considered sexual harassment? There are many types. If you would like to know about them visit RAINN Types of Sexual Violence, which provides definitions and methods to response. Bob Filner's case can be classified under "sexual exploitation by helping professionals" of course within variation of the actual criteria. This sort of sexual harassment renders the professional's clients -which in this case can refer to the women he was working with in government or on community affairs as the victims-feeling helpless in a what is a very unusual situation. Sexual exploitation by a helping professional has a very low report rate because clients fear they will not be believed or have not recognized the harm that they were in. Also in circumstances where the professional is in the public eye the media surrounding the allegations can place the victim in an even more stressful environment. According to RAINN, such behavior of any helping professional including Mayor Filner is unacceptable because:

1)He or she is in a position of power in which they are expected to honor professional boundaries.
2)He or she has a responsibility towards the client.
3)The betrayal of trust the client has towards the patient can have devastating consequences.
Have confidence that there will be people around to help you in situations where someone is coercing you into an uncomfortable spot. If you or anyone you needs help don't be afraid to call these hotlines which will track your current location and redirect you to the nearest call center.
National Sexual Assault Hotline: (800)656-HOPE
Safe Horizon's Rape, Sexual Assault, and Incest Hotline: (212)227-3000

Remember you are not anyone's toy so don't let them make you feel that way.





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