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Turning Perpetrators into Healers


Turning Perpetrators into Healers

Robert C. Koehler

Powerful men are feeling the sting of accountability for stupid and cruel behavior that until recently seemed consequence-free.

"What’s clear is that this is a moment of social change. I believe we should value everyone who is a participant in it, willingly or otherwise. Real social change leaves no one out." (Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)


Sexual harassment/abuse is the coward’s way. Fear of intimacy or inadequacy no doubt. Glad to see so many being slapped down and recognized for the little men that they are. There are ways to treat a woman with gentleness, kindness and respect. Just treat her as an equal and let the rest fall into place. If you feel the need to cheat on this process–get help growing a pair.


As I read this Koehler essay, review the charge(s) against Franken, view the photo evidence, and place(s) of occurrence (in front of witnesses on plane or state fair in front of husbands & hundreds) the “breast grope” did not apparently include actual touching but a sophomoric jerk comedian’s simulated act of stupidity and “photo-op”. There is also the potentially self-serving motives of the accuser and her past choices making herself a commodity that also muddy the issues in this incidence - I do not defend the “blame the accuser” diversion used by predator perps (or their lawyers) in most/many cases of abuse!

Given the state of our politic’s and far-reaching heinous criminal actions by elected reps and the trump regime, this one incident does not seem to rise to the level of forcing a resignation - it may instead shift the focus from coercion, vicious sexual acts, and emotional/actual slavery to an absurd degree of “correctness” (or political gamesmanship)…the R-Cons force unity regardless the crime like Moore in Alabama, while Dems fold like a cheap suit before the entire issue is addressed…that arguable moral cowardice by Dems and failure to support rather than fire a person charged by R’Cons with some fault, follows a pattern we’ve seen more than a few times…

Should predators and bosses who use the work environment (or any other) or their power to coerce sexual compliance or make co-workers feel victimized? Of course not, but let’s not confuse or mask or shift focus from those actual crimes and/or violence with stupidity and childish behaviors, or force resignation of thoughtless, but essentially positive people, especially in this critical time of massive political crimes against our society, environment and people when we need all the opposition we can get! Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathtub…


While Moore and Franken are worlds apart in their actions, they both exhibit the mind set that women can be treated as lesser humans. People act as if Franken’s actions were from his SNL days but the released photos were from 2006. His very recent actions in the Senate are either from a sudden epiphany that women actually aren’t props for his use or, more likely, simply a political mask. Who is being attacked for Franken’s actions? Well, Kirsten Gillibrand of course, as if 32 other senators didn’t also ask for his resignation. And men wonder why women seem so damned angry “all of a sudden.” I still have seen no good reason, outside of a political one, for giving Franken a pass.


Umm…I am a woman saying “And let’s not forget the male victims, who are scoffed at when they file complaints, because “men can’t be raped by women” and “women don’t lie about sexual abuse” etc.” Retribution might feel good in the short run, but solving the problem requires the kind of honesty I have yet to see. I have just recently read about 2 separate accounts of female teachers having long-term sexual relationships with minors, one only 12.


robert koehler hit the nail on the head–the patriarchy!

this is not a political problem. patriarchy contaminates our society. i have more to say but where to begin? where to end? i understand how a matriarchy works. in a matriarchy men and women live in mutual respect. if we could move beyond the patriarchy we might save ourselves , our planet and more. we could begin to live in a symbiotic relationship with Nature. we would not overpopulate and we could put an end to war.


So during these horrible decades and centuries men have been all powerful? Or have they been slaves, canon fodder, and pawns? What you and others are doing is attributing the rights of the ruling class to all men. 99 percent or more of men have been powerless for centuries. Al Franken has a crude sense of humor, I never liked the guy on SNL. If all he did is grab someone to get a laugh in a photo he should not resign. But the bigger issue is the Dems better start talking about economics. They really screwed themselves with the tax cuts. Most people have no clue how bad this bill is as the msm treats it as a blessing or an idea not as a shift of money from the powerless to the powerful/


Thank you, Robert Koehler, for an excellent and thoughtful essay, a voice of sanity and reflection amidst all of the media frenzy. I’m not defending any of these actions at all. But it is important not to get so carried away with retribution that we lose sight of the underlying systemic causes.


For what it’s worth, I agree with you. Al Franken is a basically good guy. He did some stupid things trying to be funny. Is there a man in this country who hasn’t? But his actions pale in comparison to those of Roy Moore and Harvey Weinstein.