Yesterday The Washington Times posted an article stating what many Americans knew all along–Vice-President Mike Pence was right when he said that he has a rule never to be alone with a woman who is not his wife. Think how many recent scandals we would have avoided if Hollywood, newscasters, and politicians followed that rule.
The article notes:
Vice President Mike Pence was roundly ridiculed when it was revealed that he makes an effort never to be alone with a woman who is not his wife, but the policy is looking less prudish and more sensible as accusations of sexual misconduct against powerful men proliferate.
Accusations first surfaced last month against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and have since reverberated through Hollywood, the media and government at every level. On Wednesday, Matt Lauer, a longtime host of NBC’s “Today,” and Minnesota Public Radio’s Garrison Keillor were fired by their respective organizations amid accusations of improper behavior.
Joseph Backholm, president of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, said the spate of sexual misconduct accusations makes it “increasingly obvious that we need to re-evaluate our boundaries.”
The article notes:
The entry of women into the workforce since World War II, followed by the sexual revolution and the erasure of well-established sexual mores, has left men and women with little guidance as to how to interact in the workplace, Mr. Richards said.
“We now find ourselves trying to kind of create rules after discovering fallout from these dramatic social changes,” Mr. Richards said. “It’s not as if Pence’s rule is written in stone; different people have different rules that are similar to this. But I know many Christian organizations and Christian ministries that have rules more or less like Mike Pence’s in place for all employees.”
In addition to guarding against infidelity and other sexual misconduct, Mr. Richards said, the Pence rule preserves the reputations of all parties involved.
“It’s as much or more about preserving the reputations of himself and other women,” he said. “A simple guardrail is absolutely reasonable if you want to prevent the rumor mill from starting, let alone even worse sexual transgressions.”
There are some obvious things that could have been done to prevent some of this and some obvious questions about the actions of some of the people involved. Why did Matt Lauer have a button under his desk that would allow him to lock the door to his dressing room without leaving his chair? Why did Harvey Weinstein conduct meetings with women in hotel rooms wearing only his bathrobe? Did their employers or the people they were accountable to know of their behavior? Was there anyone Harvey Weinstein was accountable to? Where did these men get the idea that it was okay for them to do the things they did? Did they not believe that societal norms and social graces applied to them?
Where these actions are proven, there have to be consequences. Those consequences need to be consistent in the political and the corporate world. It will be interesting to see if they are. Meanwhile, the wisdom of Vice-President Pence is apparent.