Let's set the record straight; social status does not prevent an abuser from abusing. Applaudable works do not nullify terrible decisions. Seemingly good people, can have very dark demons in their minds, and can be living very normal lives. We can thank individuals like Harvey Weinstein and the like for making that publicly clear.
Actually, I'll argue that social status and positions of power can simply provide a sort of sanctuary where an abuser can hide within, and remain safe from judgement.
What I've noticed in western culture, because I can't speak for any other culture to which I don't belong, is that we have a tendency to deviate from speaking about things that are sexually deviant. Perverse conversations make us uncomfortable so there's a tendency to stay silent.
It's okay, on a level, to speak about sex or sexual relations as it pertains to an adult man and an adult woman. That's the the only socially accepted sexual norm that is harmonious between Church and State. And although we're working on the others, departing from that safe structure of male to female encounters as the sexual norm in any way, is deemed "deviant" and "not okay".
Then there's the issue of power and status as it relates to sexually inappropriate behaviour. Take the example of childhood sexual abuse. The conversations I remember having had in school around sexual misconduct went as far as, "if someone touches you inappropriately make sure to tell your mom or dad, or another grown-up". Essentially we are taught to share our troubles with a person in power. Right?
However, this systematic way of dealing with abuse leaves room for much error. What constitutes as inappropriate? How far is too far? And what if, as is often the case, the individual who is abusing you just happens to be one of these individuals of power; who you've been told is supposed to keep you safe? What then? Who do you talk to, if you can no longer trust the grown ups or people in power anymore? You're left in silence, the violator continues on with his life, and society carries on none-the-wiser.
So abusers can hide behind their social status and power because they aren't being held accountable for their actions. And they aren't being held accountable for their actions, in part, because there is a lack of trust in the system as to how to judgement really operates and who judgement and justice really serve.
So that leaves us with these truths:
Your abuser can be a father to daughters.
Your abuser can have sisters.
Your abuser can be an upstanding and respected church member.
Your abuser can be someone well known, loved... and even trusted.
Mine Certainly was.
Looking forward, thankfully in 2017, here is where we now have the power to rewrite, and change the narrative that exists. Make abuse a conversation at your dinner table, with your friends, with your colleagues, with your children.
Make sure the line is drawn between what is right and what is wrong when it comes to inappropriate behaviour.
Make sure your community of peers have a safe place to come to should there be something wrong. It is up to us to change the outlook of our future.