Serious Question: What Exactly is Sexual Assault?

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”.

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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.

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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.

 

 

16 thoughts on “Serious Question: What Exactly is Sexual Assault?

  1. This is all getting out of hand.

    If it is about showing respect that is due to others, modesty is part of that equation. And that part is plainly missing from the discussion

  2. The conversation, as EI said, is way out of hand. The #MeToo hashtag is a perfect example of how people want to jump on any bandwagon, without consideration if their story is true. This also goes to all the women who knew of real sexual harassment and/or assault (which needs a legal definition and differentiation) and said nothing. Mika knew about Halperin, I’m sure. She had Joe’s ear, among other things. 🙂

    As for Lind, I’m glad at least she removed her post. Perhaps she realized she was wrong to accuse. We are just at the tip of the iceberg of accusations. The quandary will be how many accusations can be pursued in the court of law, if that’s the end goal the women want. Look how tough it’s been for women who accused Bill Cosby and he probably really did assault women.

    1. The end game? I doubt few have thought that through. The women who hired Gloria Allred or her daughter Lisa Bloom have not been successful, as far as I know, in a guilty verdict.

      Don’t forget Corey Feldman, a young male actor, was admonished in public by Barbara Walters years ago when he claimed there was sexual abuse in Hollywood. She called him a liar and told him not to tell stories like that.

      I don’t watch The View but I’d bet my last dollar they didn’t talk about Halperin today.

  3. Reported dialog:

    G H W Bush from wheelchair reaches around, puts hand near rump, and asks, “Do you know who is my favorite magician? (Wait for it…) David Copp-a-feel.”

    Sexual assault? Hardly. Inappropriate humor? After the 100th time? Very.

    1. Agree it was inappropriate. Agree it’s a stupid joke. Agree it should have stopped long ago. BUT, I still contend the young women today don’t understand the diference between inappropriate old man humor, which for 99% of the time is harmless banter, and sexual assault. She would have been better served to have said something at the time to one of the Bush aides, quietly said that she didn’t care for the joke or the pat, and perhaps back then HW would have gotten the hint to stop thinking it was funny.

      His pat and joke wouldn’t have bothered me. I would have taken it in stride and let it be.

  4. As a dad to a daughter, I have had conversations with her about harassment in the workplace. We talked at length about what her office will not tolerate, there’s an HR form to sign about harassment. She’s not allowed to date within the office and women are encouraged to report any behavior they deem inappropriate.

    Long gone are the Mad Men days.

    1. Utterly hysterical, and probably very very true. And when SNL was funny. Do you think that segment would air today? I don’t. And too bad, because it IS funny.

      Every office seems to have romances so at some point in the employee lounge, a man and woman flirt. Let’s ask Mika how it started for her. I know. I know. She and Joe were “forced” to have Trump on MoJoe every day during the election season in another far off town’s coffee shop and all that travel must have given them plenty of time for pillow talk about (politics).

      1. Yeah, probably not – at least no Tom Brady.

        My personal opinion is to steer clear of office romances because when they go South, somebody has to leave…
        It’s hard to watch Morning Joe- Mika seems painfully ignorant (may be just a pose) and Joe, in my opinion, treats her poorly.

        1. One has to wonder who talked Tom Brady in to doing that skit. Although, he played several parts as himself in Family Guy so perhaps he just has a great sense of humor?

          I’m showing my age but many women went to work in hopes of marrying the boss. I’m sure many people still meet their mates at work but keep it hush hush because fraternization is forbidden.

          Joe has had a couple of wives already and I don’t think any ended because Joe was too swell a guy. He strikes me as a hugely arrogant ass, that he’s always right. But hey, maybe Mika is a meek woman in air and a wild woman with Joe. She seems to love his rock and roll gigs. Or pretends to.

  5. And then there is sexual harassment. Years ago I lost a job because I refused to date a lecherous client 40 years my senior. Fired! For being “uncooperative.” Who knew prostitute was part of my job description.
    This was the late eighties. I was about a decade too early to collect the really big bucks for that injustice.

    1. Your story is a perfect example and hence my point that true sexual harassment happened. Big time. Mad Men years and into the lecherous 80s and 90s with the titans of industry. I’m sorry this happened to you Shell and I trust you were able to find another job where being a hooker was not in the description. 🙂

  6. Even dudes I’ve never heard of are getting slammed with assault accusations. What I don’t like is many of the accusations are years old. Decade or more. What is the point?

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