I can have some sympathy for Sharon Osbourne not wanting to believe the worst about James Franco. Before that, I had already had to kind of deal with that twice.
I wrote about one of the times pretty recently: http://sporkful.blogspot.com/2018/02/nahm-2017-taking-sides.html
Before that, it was when David Bowie died. There was a lot of mourning and a lot of gratitude to him for making it okay to be a freak, but there was also this:
I read a few articles on that. It could have been more painful, because a lot of the musicians that came up weren't ones I cared for. Then Dee Dee Ramone came up, and that wasn't so much disappointment or disbelief as this anger, that just for once in your life could you do the right thing?
I want to see if I can unsnarl some of this knotted tangle.
First of all, Prince - who inspired a very similar grief for many - also comes up in that article. Whomever you love and like and admire, often you know about them because they are famous in some way, and that gives them opportunities, and a lot of them committed statutory rape. I'm pretty sure they didn't think of it that way, but they did.
I'm not completely against acknowledging that it could have been viewed differently then, but there's a danger in doing that. First of all, it was illegal then too, which they surely could have known.
I was reading a thread recently with people sharing things others had done for them. For one person, it was that when she was young (though legal) and vulnerable, a man old enough to be her father did not sleep with her. She was there at his house, and they could have, but he not only stopped himself but told her that this would not be good for her. It would have had emotional ramifications for her that it wouldn't have had for him, but he put her first and she still remembers that with gratitude.
For my own part, I had not ever been really into Bowie. The freak thing kind of put me off, and I liked some of his music but I didn't really grow to appreciate it until a few years ago. However, I did like him. Later when I read a biography and I saw things about him giving songs to groups that were falling apart, or pulling artists in a slump into the studio with him, I assumed that was what I was responding to there. So I find it easy to think of him as a kind and considerate person, who still did something wrong and damaging. I can picture that against a context of male pleasure being prioritized over female safety, and anything that sounded vaguely moral rejected as too uptight, regardless of its value.
But remember, I came up with my rule already: we need to think of the victims first.
Okay, Lori Mattix seems to be okay with it, though there could be some denial there. There are also a lot of girls that I don't know the names of. How do we fix that? We can't go back in time, but we can be understanding of people who are coming forward now. We can listen now. We can provide support now.
That should go beyond a listening ear (though that is a great starting place) but also working for wage equality and mental health parity. If women have the resources they need to heal and to leave destructive situations, that is a start.
We should be providing early and appropriate sex education. That should include mental health information like how girls who sleep with older men - famous or not - tend to suffer later. That will require being able to talk about sex without getting all weird about it. We can do that.
When the flood of #metoo stories was starting, there would often be questions asked about if various offenders could be forgiven, because we were still focusing on the perpetrators instead of the victims. It could be a very reasonable question to ask - before we ask about forgiveness - to ask if they are sorry, because there have been some pretty lousy apologies put forth.
The better question to ask is what we would like to see different. That can be a difference in the perpetrators, but I think will also need to be a difference in us.
We can probably see a difference between David Bowie sleeping with one groupie and Jimmy Page arranging her kidnapping and Roy Moore going so persistently after teen girls that he was banned from a mall. We need to be able to do that without justifying the "lesser" actions. We can probably let go of anger if we can focus on making sure that everyone is okay now - supported, heard, and helped.
And I'm pretty sure that's going to take overturning the kyriarchy, but I promise it will be better for everyone when we do.