I’ve had this conversation with my kids and friends and honestly, I don’t know the answer to the question. Is there a legal definition of Sexual Assault? I think there needs to be some clarification because this week a young actress Heather Lind, who I’ve never heard of, accused Bush The Elder of “sexual assault”.
Lind’s accusation against Geoge HW Bush, in her own words:
“He sexually assaulted me while I was posing for a similar photo. He didn’t shake my hand. He touched me from behind from his wheelchair with his wife Barbara Bush by his side,” she wrote, according to the Daily Mail’s transcript of the deleted post.
“He told me a dirty joke. And then, all the while being photographed, touched me again,” she added.
So wait, George HW gave her a pat on the behind, with Barbara right there, said something Miss Lind took as a dirty joke, and this is sexual assault?? Whoa Nelly.
Bush’s press secretary had to issue a statement, after which Miss Lind deleted her Instagram #MeToo post.
“At age 93, President Bush has been confined to a wheelchair for roughly five years, so his arm falls on the lower waist of people with whom he takes pictures,” McGrath said. “To try to put people at ease, the president routinely tells the same joke — and on occasion, he has patted women’s rears in what he intended to be a good-natured manner. Some have seen it as innocent; others clearly view it as inappropriate. To anyone he has offended, President Bush apologizes most sincerely.”
That gets me to Part Two of this conversation. If Miss Lind felt she was truly sexually assaulted, why did she wait years and why use social media to make the claim? Couldn’t be for a few minutes of fame, eh?
And here’s the problem. Sexual Assault is a very serious invasion of a person’s body. Male or female. In my opinion, real sexual assault includes violence or force, long term psychological trauma above and beyond any physical trauma occurred.
So, how on earth could a pat on the behind, by a man in a wheelchair, whose arm is compromised, with his wife at his side, be construed to be sexual assault? It’s impossible. I’d say Miss Lind is of the generation of women who has no sense of humor and no lecherous old uncles or grandfathers who would do the same. It was a harmless, albeit inappropriate, touch. Not sexual assault.
Then we have the latest – Mark Halperin who opines on Morning Joe, now accused of sexual assault by five women, so far.
According to CNN, veteran journalist Mark Halperin sexually harassed women while he was in a powerful position at ABC News, according to five women who shared their previously undisclosed accounts with CNN and others who did not experience the alleged harassment personally, but were aware of it.
Halperin has come out with his own statement: “During this period, I did pursue relationships with women that I worked with, including some junior to me,” Halperin said in a statement to CNN Wednesday night. “I now understand from these accounts that my behavior was inappropriate and caused others pain. For that, I am deeply sorry and I apologize. Under the circumstances, I’m going to take a step back from my day-to-day work while I properly deal with this situation.”
But no article I can find explains what sexual assault took place. Groping seems to be a biggie that women say is assault. But what is groping actually? To me it assumes hands all over someone’s body versus the old man cop a feel approach. Neither is advisable. Both are inappropriate but is either sexual assault?? I don’t think so.
I blame the Hashtag Generation for much of the accusations. #MeToo was probably the worst idea ever because it allowed women who may or may not have actually BEEN sexually assaulted to claim they were in an arena of sympathy, even if the claim was false.
It completely diminished the people who were actually assaulted, a term no one should use lightly or in a hashtag form.
I’m not saying I have any sympathy for Halperin but I do think it’s odd that he was a regular on Morning Joe with sanctimonious Mika, the Queen of #KnowYourValue. If, as has been reported, SHE knew all about Halperin’s escapades, is she guilty for not saying anything and having him on the show every day? Of course, asking Mika about morals, when she openly had an affair with her co-worker Joe….enough said.
Lind was stupid and young and made a huge mistake shaming the senior Bush for what was intended to be an innocent pat. That she couldn’t understand that is sad. So okay, maybe HW stops doing that and we call it even, but what he did was NOT then, not NOW, not EVER, sexual assault. Period.