It seems like it’s becoming more and more common for politicians to be caught up in scandals, and Roy Moore (R-AL) is no exception. According to an article from the Washington Post, a woman spoke out and said that the senatorial candidate “initiated sexual contact” with her when she was 14 - he was in his 30s at the time. 3 other women have also come out saying that they “dated” Moore when they were 16-18 years old. Moore, who denies any allegations, is threatening to sue the Washington Post.

Almost 4 weeks shy of the special election, it’s important to note that Democrats and Republicans alike have asked Moore to drop out of the election, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who has stated that “[he] believe[s] the women” in calling for Moore’s withdrawal. Despite the bipartisan outcry, Moore has decided to continue his candidacy.

The Washington Post has also reported that all 4 women who spoke out against Moore were reluctant to do so in fear of retaliation. Leigh Corfman, the first survivor who came forward, “almost came out publicly in 2000, but decided against it” to protect her children, and also feared that her credibility would come under question.

The really important thing about all of this is how did we let our society get to this? Why did we let it get to women not feeling safe enough to name their assailants? Why did this even happen in the first place? As more reports are coming out, it’s being said that this type of behavior was normal for Moore. He hung out in malls, at high school football games, etc. to meet young women. It’s sad to me that this had become so commonplace for Moore, because this should not be normal behavior for anyone, let alone a man who was in his 30s. Let’s call it what it is: exploitative and predatory.

Moore joins a long list of politicians who have been accused of taking advantage of women. While this story is about him, it’s also important to address the trend of politicians as a whole who have also assaulted women. Why are men in power using their positions to manipulate people? Specifically, why are they using their status to sexually assault people?

It’s also important to quote Corfman in this situation. She was a minor, and under the age of consent in Alabama (which is 16). She literally could not consent and he took advantage of that fact. She was too young to know anything - and he knew better. It’s hard to believe that our society has scared women and men away from telling their stories because of alleged ‘credibility issues.’ The only credible source, in my opinion, is the survivor.

This is the same story we hear in the media over and over - it’s a broken record at this point. It’s time to re-write this story. It’s time to give power back to the women and men who’ve survived sexual assault. Let’s celebrate survivors for being open about their stories, instead of making them feel like their credibility is on the line. Let’s continue to move the media towards calling out abusers, whoever they are.

By god, it’s almost 2018. Let’s finish this once and for all.

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