Editorial: Let's have constructive conversations about sexual misconduct

The Guam Daily Post
December 10, 2017

Amid the tsunami of sexual harassment and assault allegations, our community should have constructive conversations about what all of these revelations mean.

The national media has put a spotlight on the pervasive problem in the entertainment industry.

Time magazine's Person of the Year cover honors individuals who reported sexual misconduct. The cover features singer Taylor Swift who countersued a DJ who groped her. Swift appears next to actress Ashley Judd, one of the first women to publicly accuse Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment.

In addition, the Time article includes early evangelists of the #MeToo movement that led to a worldwide discussion about sexual misconduct.

Here on Guam, the local media has chronicled church sex abuse lawsuits. Once-admired priests are now pariahs.

As more people share their stories, it's getting easier to talk about sexual harassment and assault. We must keep up the momentum and steer the dialogue in a positive direction. 

The conversations should focus on changing the mindset. It's not OK for people in positions of power to abuse others. We must hold perpetrators accountable, and we must encourage victims to seek justice.

For a victim, filing a police report or lawsuit may mean opening a wound. We encourage victims to seek the assistance of mental health professionals or organizations like the Healing Hearts Crisis Center, Guam's only rape crisis center.

If we witness sexual abuse, we must report it to the authorities. Even if it means turning in a relative, friend or mentor, it's the right thing to do.

At the same time, we must support government agencies and organizations that help victims. Donations and volunteer work can make a difference.

Finally, we can talk to our children about the news reports and the #MeToo and #GuahuLokkue' posts on social media. Age-appropriate context can help children process the endless stream of public accusations.

Above all, we can use this teaching moment to remind children to respect others and to expect those around them to do the same.

Yes, the tide is turning against sexual misconduct. But we must ensure the changes are not built on sand.


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