There is an old story of Spanish origin upon which Hans Christian Anderson based his tale of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The story is about a considerably vain emperor who cared only about wearing the finest and most beautiful clothing. It happened that two weavers came along who knew of the emperor’s obsessive preoccupation with clothing and promised to create for him a suit of clothing unlike any other that would be made from a fabric that was invisible.
The weavers told the emperor that only those who were unfit for their station would be unable to the see the fabulous fabric. The egocentric emperor believed the words of the weavers, and after a time they presented the emperor with his new suit of clothes. The emperor adorned his new clothes, and he was highly pleased with their exquisite workmanship. The weavers assured the emperor that the only ones who could not see his new clothes were “hopelessly stupid.”
The emperor presented himself to his court in his new clothes and all of them praised the emperor for the regal splendor of his new clothes. The emperor then decided to present himself before his subjects in his new clothes, and as he passed by them there was a collective gasp as they too flattered the emperor by pretending to see what obviously was not there- a suit of clothing.
A voice arose from the bewildered and shocked onlookers that shouted out the unspeakable : ” But he isn’t wearing anything at all!” The voice that disclosed the reality of the emperor’s real status was that of a child. The child was unencumbered by the consensus of denial. The child was untutored in the society of pretense, and so he spoke a dangerous truth. The child did not yet understand the unspoken consensus of the status quo. His psyche had not yet been fully socialized in polite blindness and dubious fiction. He did not yet have full membership in the culture of the “People Of the Lie.”
The child’s reality calculus was indeed naive. He was not yet educated beyond his intelligence, he could see things that others dare not see. So now in our day, and in our time a modern day emperor who was clothed in a suit of political power, and who believed that no one would dare to reveal the unspeakable has found that a lone voice arose to brave the storm of mockery and criticism to speak the unspeakable.
In a Southern California city, an “emperor” of sorts has been found wanting by the electorate because it seems that he routinely practiced sexual harassment of females within his periphery. A woman came forth who believed that “Further Silence Is Impossible” and made the painfully ironic disclosure that the emperor wasn’t “…wearing anything at all” and created a groundswell and outrage, and support for the victimized.
The mantel of political invincibility was a mirage, and now it seems that one can indeed fight city hall when city hall threatens to destabilize the body politic. For too long women have had to suffer in silence, and keep the unspeakable acts of harassment and abuse hidden. For too long girls, and women had to wrestle with buried rage within because of those who exercised power over their lives. Sexual exploitation is always about the abuse of power as Poling has told us.
I have known and counseled women who have gone to other counselors about sexual harassment only to be victimized further by said counselors. These women have had their lives further shattered by those who are suppose to be bastions of safety and trust. Little wonder why their healing seems to get stuck in the muck. The women victimized by the emperor will never forget, but they will find wholeness through the love and support of family, and friends.
Politics is the exercise of power over others. Sexual harassment is the exercise of power over others too. The weavers had told the emperor that his ‘new’ clothes could not be seen by those who were unfit or hopelessly stupid. The emperor wanted to believe the weavers so that he could continue to play with the sexual betrayal of women. The invisible was all too visible to women who had been exploited and came forth to tell their stories. (Very interesting facts are often revealed in depositions). Facts that will never be known to the public.
What has happened in this southern California city needs to become a white hot social topic. We need serious dialogue about sexual harassment within the public sector. MPV Seminars is devoted to instructing both businesses and city governments about sexual harassment. If your company is in need of our services please contact MVP Seminars for topic specific information.
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