Leave it to Energy Secretary Rick Perry to solve two problems at once: energy development and sexual assault. After a trip to Africa (that’s a big piece of land called a continent, it is to the east of Texas and surrounded mostly by water) he told an audience at an event sponsored by Axios and NBC that fossil fuels will reduce sexual assault.
Here’s the logic, if you can call it that. Many places in Africa don’t have decent electric service and some have none. Lots of rapes take place in darkness. If there were light, women would see and be able — somehow — to fend off their attackers. The best way to bring light to a rural village is to dig for oil, he says.
Why didn’t I think of that!
If Perry said anything else of note in that appearance — unlikely as that would seem — it will be lost in the mists of time before the laughter dies. The sad part here is that the guy probably believes what he says.
Same with Ejakayshun Secretary DiVorce.
Her policy is keep ‘em barefoot and pregnant. Even the men. (Her home school — or was it Amway Academy — didn’t include the chapter on how babies are made.)
What good is developing a breed of gig economy drone workers if they’re going to learn to think for themselves? And while you’re at it, let’s pay a little more attention to the accused. After all some of them are “very good people” with rough childhoods and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Maybe even PTSD from getting slapped a lot by the women they hit on.
But the recent tidal wave of sexual harassment, sexual abuse and rape leads us to one important question: Where is the line between casual, good natured flirting and the door to obnoxiousness or criminality?
There are a few things that you can say without doubt. Rape is a crime and morally wrong. But where flirting results in abuse depends on who, what, when and where.
If she’s already told you to buzz off, buzz off. If she seems open to conversation, converse. If she seems to be inviting, accept the invitation. If you misinterpreted something as an invitation and it wasn’t, apologize, accept the correction and buzz off.
This kind of exchange happens every hour of every day. If it happens at a bar at 11 pm it’s different than if it happens in your faculty or film studio or hedge fund office. But the guidelines don’t change.
If there’s a working or academic relationship where you have authority and she does not, anything but innocent word play is out of place. And even that is risky — and should be.
If you’re a rich guy preying on vulnerable women remember that pay-to-play is widely available and in the long run less expensive and damaging than this hour’s target of opportunity. And both participants end up with something to show for the encounter.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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