Assault claims need to be heard

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When I was a young man growing up, dating or “going steady” with girls from my high school, I distinctly remember a 16-year-old girlfriend confiding in me about being molested by a relative of hers. Her story haunts me 50 years later; both the pain she expressed and my own feelings of helplessness.

As a young man growing up in the Flathead Valley in the late 60s and early 70s, I was embarrassed by some of the sexual harassment that was part of my generation’s upbringing, not to mention sexual assaults, that were explained away as “boys will be boys.” I will forever be shamed by my own complicity by hiding in the shadows.

Since then, I hope I’ve treated women respectfully over the years and intervened when witnessing such bad behavior. I hope I instilled in my son the responsibility of being a decent guy. His longterm girlfriend has assured me I have.

I am the father of two daughters and two granddaughters. The continuing and disturbing stories of the sexual molestation, assaults and rapes of young, helpless women or girls by men of power, especially political or wealth power, whether they be Democrats or Republicans, comedians, actors, producers, etc., sickens and disturbs me.

Not only have these women and young ladies suffered the pain and humiliation of such actions, they are then attacked, assaulted and “raped” again for their courage of coming forward — by both biased media, competing political entities and the very individuals who perpetuated these heinous and evil actions.

Mitt Romney was spot on with his insight five years ago on Russia, when he warned, “This is without question our number one geopolitical foe, they fight for every cause for the world’s worst actors.”

Mitt Romney is again spot on regarding the allegations against Roy Moore, when he tweeted, much earlier than most, “Innocent until proven guilty is for criminal convictions, not elections. I believe [the accusers].”

Both political parties have had their share of sexual related problems with the corresponding defenders. President Kennedy and Clinton’s dalliances with interns and others in their late teens and early 20s was shameful and will forever color their presidencies.

President Trump has been accused of sexual assault and sexual harassment by at least fifteen women since the 1980s. Like Roy Moore, he has denied the allegations, relying upon the standard defense of being the victim of false or biased media and political smears. Like Roy Moore, Trump relies upon the threats of law suits, yet it is noted neither has initiated such.

Even 93-year-old former President George H. W. Bush has been accused by a number of women who apparently have been groped or assaulted by the traditional definition of a “dirty old man.”

So what can we do, you and I, for these women and young girls? We can believe them.

Tom Muri is a resident of Whitefish.

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