Every once in a while, and today more often than before, a sex scandal explodes in the media and everyone is shocked to hear that this or that celebrity, who used to be a role model we all grew up on and admired, is really a monster in disguise. When this happens, moralists click their tongues in disapproval, and quickly turn to social media to express their righteous indignation and disbelief that this person, the idol of our youth, was actually a sex predator, a villain of the worst kind.
I think they’re hypocritical. First, when such a scandal blows up, you will always find people who knew about it but kept silent, or would have known about it had they not tried so hard not to see the obvious. Second, there is nothing new about this phenomenon; sex perversions have been an inseparable part of human perversions throughout the ages. In ancient cultures, such as in Egypt, Greece, or Rome, some perversions were permitted and acceptable, and others were regarded as an abomination. In more puritan times, such as the Middle-Ages, one could find oneself tied to the stake for having done the same thing others did in antiquity, without anyone making a fuss over it. It is not that the condemning puritans did not commit the same “crimes” they had accused others of committing; it’s just that they hid it better, and were mainly better connected to the authorities in charge of exposing such “immoral” behaviors.
The truth about these scandals is not that such misdemeanors are burgeoning, but that they are used more often than before against their perpetrators. In other words, today, accusations of sexual misconduct are a weapon that politicians use in order to destroy their rivals. Exposing sex crimes will not prevent the next crime or make potential victims safer. It will, however, affect the accused, even if the accusation turns out to be false. Therefore, the next time a sex scandal breaks out, check who benefits from its exposure.
If we want to prevent sex crimes, we needn’t focus on punishment, but on educating the public. I’m not saying we should not punish sex offenders; I am merely pointing out that if we want to prevent such crimes, the way to do it is not by intimidation but by education to consideration.
We are brought up in a social environment that teaches us nothing but to focus on our own wants and needs, and ignore those of others. With such a narcissistic upbringing, people are bound to be inconsiderate and apathetic to other people’s suffering; they will not cringe at the thought of hurting other people.
But the truth is that such behaviors hurt the offender too, and not only the victim. In truth, we are connected and dependent on each other even if we aren’t aware of it. We could become aware of it; we could know how to conduct ourselves in a way that’s satisfying to us and to everyone around us, but we must first be taught to see ourselves within the bigger picture of humanity.
When we talk about climate change, pandemics, power outages, or even a traffic jam, we don’t realize that these are manifestations of our connectedness. The only reason they are here is that we are unaware that our thoughtless and careless attitude to one another causes them.
If we were educated about our interconnections, we would know how to conduct ourselves so as not to inflict pandemics on ourselves. Moreover, there would be countless benefits to such awareness: We wouldn’t hurt each other since we would feel, not just intellectually, but truly feel it in our hearts that we are all connected. And just as I wouldn’t hurt myself, I wouldn’t hurt anyone else.
Can you imagine how living in such a society would feel? We wouldn’t have to worry about sex crimes, or any crime, for that matter, since people wouldn’t dream of hurting other people; they would feel connected!
It turns out that the true knowledge we all need is not the next tech gadget, but the awareness that we are all connected and affect each other in myriad ways. If we knew this and lived by this awareness, we would treat each other humanely, the way human beings should treat other human beings, and there would be no scandals of any kind.