By Ryan Lau | United States
In 1992 as a graduate student at Stanford now Senator from New Jersey Cory Booker (D) pinned an Op-Ed for the Stanford Daily entitled So much for stealing second. In it, he details that in 1984, while at a New Year’s Eve party, he groped a woman’s breast without her consent. The first time she pushed his hand away, but the second time, as Booker recalls, he hit his ‘mark.’ Booker continues that after the assault, he and the woman struck up a cordial friendship and that she confided in him that that night she had been drunk and unsure about what she was doing.
Booker Admits Error
Senator Booker goes on to state that while attending Stanford he saw the error of his ways. He claims that he moved away from viewing sexual relations as being best achieved through “luck, guile, strategy, or coercion.” To a more progressive sentiment, one clearly displayed in his “soliloquy titled ‘The Oppressive Nature Of Male Dominated Society And Its Violent Manifestations: Rape, Anorexia, Battered Wives.’
Senator Booker called on President Trump to resign as a result of the infamous audio recording outlining a particularly sexually explicit conversation with the then real estate mogul and Billy Bush. Both Senator Booker and recently disgraced Minnesota Senator Al Franken (D) chastised Trump for his alleged misconduct.
Sexual harassment and assault are serious and unfortunately pervasive problems in our society. Women of all creeds, ethnicity, and backgrounds are coming forward and bravely exposing the people that once preyed on them. Continuing to bring offenders to light, particularly with the aid of the national spotlight, is what is necessary to change the culture around sex and sexual encounters.
A Difference in Situations
Admittedly, Senator Booker’s case is far different from that of Harvey Weinstein, or Kevin Spacey, or even Al Franken. Senator Booker was only 15 when he inappropriately groped the young woman, whereas the others were grown men. In the article, Booker outlines that the woman kissed him first and then things escalated to a point she was uncomfortable with.
This is not to excuse the actions of Senator Booker, but rather to point out that the line between welcomed flirtation and sexual advances, and sexual harassment and/or sexual assault can be a blurry one. Moreover, one should be able to understand that a 15-year-old boy who is just beginning to experience sex and sexuality is not as culpable as a powerful man in his 40s and 50s who repeatedly coerced women into sex; as was the case with Harvey Weinstein.
In the 1992 Op-Ed Booker notes that he chose to recall his own personal experiences regarding sexual misconduct so as not to bask in hypocrisy.
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