When I compiled my list of the worst sexuality stories last year, I wrote thatadded, "and worldwide, too.” So often, humans exploit and abuse this aspect of our common humanity, and, sadly, I usually find more sexuality stories for the “worst” list than the “best.” This year is no different. Perhaps this list will encourage you to take action to support policies and organizations that mitigate some of the most horrific abuses.
10. Young boys are charged with sexual harassment
Sexual harassment is a serious issue, but it became trivialized when school officials in one North Carolina district suspended a 9-year-old male student for telling another student that a teacher was “cute.”
“It’s not like he went up to the woman and tried to grab her or touch her in a sexual way,” said his mother, according to WSCTV. In another case, a Boston first grader faced a sexual harassment investigation after he “allegedly struck another boy in the groin.”
These cases cry out for sex education in the early grades to help young people learn respect for other students and adults. (Although “cute” in my vocabulary is a harmless word for children to use.) They also call for sex education training for school administrators and teachers, so they understand the true nature and seriousness of sexual harassment.
9. Sexting defeats a congressman
After revealing that he had tweeted lewd photos of his genitalia covered only by his underwear to a female follower, longtime New York City Congressman Anthony Weiner resigned from the House of Representatives. (President Obama, among others, suggested that he resign.) Weiner is only one of many politicians who lost their jobs, or were tarnished by their sexual behavior, some of it exposed by social media. The list of the dishonored includes Bill Clinton, Eliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Newt Gingrich, John Edwards and Herman Cain.
A recent report from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project says that sending sexually suggestive text messages or photos is more common among people aged 18 to 29 than among teens. And another surprising report from The New York Times showed that “women are more likely to send nude photographs or sexually explicit text messages than men.”
8. Sexual behavior brings down the rich and powerful, but only temporarily
Dominique Strauss-Kahn was president of the International Monetary Fund when a poor, black woman from Guinea, a chambermaid at the expensive Sofitel Hotel in Manhattan, accused him of sexual assault. The New York City Police Department quickly arrested him. It looked like an airtight case, until Strauss-Kahn began to quibble about the definition of “rape,” saying that the incident only involved oral sex and was consensual. When a background check on the maid revealed a less-than-perfect picture of her behavior, the district attorney declined to prosecute, reported Reuters. Although Strauss-Kahn resigned from his important post, he left the U.S. a free man, leaving many people like me wondering about the DA’s lack of courage and the ability of powerful people in our society to often bend the arch of justice in their own behalf.
7. Peace Corps female volunteers are victims of sexual assault and rape at home and abroad
Many female Peace Corps volunteers are raped and sexually assaulted by men in the communities in which they serve. Corps headquarters in Washington, D.C., concealed the high number of sexual assaults and rapes that routinely happen to its female volunteers, reported The New York Times.
From 2000 to 2009, more than 1,000 Peace Corps female volunteers reported sexual assaults, including 221 rapes or attempted rapes — a number that is doubtless too low, according to the report. Many female volunteers began speaking out and testifying before Congressional committees about “the inconsistent … callous treatment that they receive abroad and here in the U.S. upon their return.” According to the New York Times, The Peace Corps, stung by the criticism from its volunteers and Congressional committee members, promised reforms.