What makes powerful men think they can get away with mistreating women?
By: Emmanuel Roy
Power can be so intoxicating that it can give a man or a woman the illusion of infallibility. Unfortunately, so many men have fallen into the trap of believing that they are so powerful that they can treat people, especially women, with utter disrespect. I always believe that the more powerful you think you are, the more humble you should be because, quite frankly, power is an illusion.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo joined the list of many powerful men who fall in disgrace because they could not keep their hands to themselves or their zipper zipped tight.
Earlier this week, I was in New York to attend a fundraiser for another politician whose star is shining bright at the moment. As I watched him give a speech about the City that he will most likely govern for the next four years, Gov. Cuomo came to mind. I hope my good friend Eric Adams is learning a thing or two from Cuomo’s downfall – keep your hands to yourself and treat your female employees like you would treat a man.
It is indisputable that Cuomo has done a lot for New York State. He was a good governor, and I am saddened by how his political career ended. Though he resigned, some politicians in the state senate are still considering impeachment to prevent him from ever running for office again.
Earlier today, I read an article in the New York Times and the writer wrote that Cuomo might come back after undergoing some rehabilitation; I doubt that will be the case.
Many men whose careers ended because of a sex scandal, sexual harassment, or otherwise hardly find their way back to the public’s grace. However, when it comes to mistreating women, especially when there is a power dynamic at play, the public is very unforgiving, and rightfully so.
Eliot Spitzer, the former New York governor, resigned in disgrace in 2008 after the world found out that he had been patronizing a prostitution ring did not come back to the public graces, though he tried with a show on CNN.
Similarly, Anthony Weiner, the star Congressman who was forced to quit in 2011 after evidence surfaced that he had sent explicit photos to six women over three years. Remember New York State attorney general Eric Schneiderman who had to step down after being accused of physically abusing women with whom he had a sexual relationship? Unfortunately, neither of these two men will ever return to politics.
Poetic justice, Schneiderman was replaced by a woman – Letitia James whom governor Cuomo picked to replace Schneiderman is the same woman who issued an unflattering report that finally forced Cuomo to resign. The report concluded that Cuomo harassed eleven women and retaliated when they complained. Cuomo’s attorney cried foul calling the information “one-sided. “
In two weeks, Gov. Cuomo will be replaced by a woman – Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. Outdone by women and replaced by a woman, what could be more poetic? By the end is this month, the two most powerful positions in New York state will be held by two women simply because their predecessors have harassed other women.
To a certain extent, if men were not sexually harassing women neither Letitia James nor Kathy Hochul would be in their positions. This is not to say that these women could not have been elected on their own, but New York voters love to elect men to office for one reason or another.
Perhaps it is time to elect more women. I cannot wait for the time when a group of men can come together to accuse a powerful woman of sexual harassment, a great entertaining role reversal that would make everyone proud. When that happens, we will know for sure we have reached the vertex of gender equality.
In the meantime, here is my advice if you are a powerful man and you want to keep your job, please keep your hands to yourself. Just because your female employee does not slap you when you run your hands over her chest does not mean she likes it. On the contrary, she hates it and may be too scared or stunned to say anything.