To be a woman and a victim of sexual harassment is something that I frankly cannot fathom. I can certainly empathize with the emotional and mental scars that victims deal with, and also their sense of righteous indignation when their perpetrator is allowed to continue with his or her life, relatively unscathed.
When that (alleged) perpetrator is also an active participant in our political system, the stakes are raised. Not only because of the heightened media attention, but also because politicians are called to represent the best interests of their constituents. To see the person who (allegedly) propositioned you for sexual favors in exchange for career advancement speak glibly about “creating jobs” for you and your fellow citizens, I can appreciate and understand a rancorous reaction.
So it makes sense to me that someone who has (allegedly) experienced sexual harassment at the hands of a current candidate for President of the United States would want to step forward to make it known. But does this imply some seeming obligation to the public in general to “provide details,” as William McKenzie asks in this weeks’ Texas Faith blog?
In short, no, and here’s why: unless someone has been indicted of a criminal act, the public has no right to know anything about any potential political candidate. Short of that, the public may receive information about candidates from people who have associated with them at their discretion. It is the duty of journalists to substantiate facts and report them, and the duty of our legal system to determine guilt if illegal acts have been committed, but it is not the right of any average citizen to receive all the sordid details for the purpose of making their own conclusions.