7 lessons to be learned from celebrity rapists
Could Bill Cosby, the most respected family man and Father of America have raped 15 women and counting? That just cannot be. Right? Parents and children equally looked up to him; parents wanted to emulate him and children wanted a father like him. He was wise, funny, educated, understanding, and just plain cool! He was well respected, both as Bill Cosby and as Dr. Huxtable. And that’s exactly where it all goes wrong — Respect and Reputation!
We bestow our respect upon so many people everyday, and unequivocally. Teachers, Coaches, School Bus Drivers, Doctors, Babysitters, Priests, Monks, Celebrities, Athletes, Businesspeople, Team leaders, Armed Forces, Police Officers, Fire fighters, Parents, Grandparents, Elderly, Relatives, Friends, Friends of friends, Neighbors, Counselors and possibly a band of 5 politicians in a galaxy far, far away.
As kids, we’re told to respect our elders and not talk back. If we do speak up, then we’re swiftly told to hush up. We learned these lessons early on by getting disciplined by our parents, reading books and observing how the society at large responds to people in certain positions. So from a very early age, the notion of respect and role is etched in stone as mutually exclusive. When we become parents, we pass this age-old learning to our kids. And the cycle continues.
Now, bring it back to the world that you live in. How many criminals do you know personally or were in close proximity that were/are coaches, teachers, priests, relatives and friends?
If the answer is none, think again. Personally, I know of two people in my circle of acquaintances that have been accused/charged of sexual assault to date. I also discovered that a guy who was in my class, was charged with branding his girl friend(s) and bestiality. To think that I was in the same room with him on numerous occasions is chilling. I was shocked.
But why are we always shocked? We continue to believe there is halo around us and these incidents only happen in movies or some place far away. But how many more incidents do we need to hear about before we start to understand that this happens all around us. And it’s closer to us than we think. It’s not that shocking!
7 lessons to be learned from celebrity rapists
Lesson 1: Jekyll and Hyde
A well respected businessperson & philanthropist by day and a child molester by night. A loving husband and father by day and a serial rapist by night. An Emmy award-winning actor by profession, and a rapist during personal time. An author and award-winning coach for decades, and a serial child molester for decades. And the pattern continues …
People put on a façade and many live double lives. They show us what we want to see. And we believe what we want to believe. Once these criminals gain our trust and respect, they can almost do anything they want, and have a good chance of getting away with it for a very long time. Kevin Costner illustrates this point really well in the movie “Mr. Brooks.”
Lesson 2: Anyone, Anywhere
Imagine you’re on stage and staring at a massive crowd of people. Now blindfold yourself and point your finger at anyone in the crowd. You just found a victim of sexual assault. Now point your finger at anyone in the crowd again. You just found a rapist.
Both victims and criminals could be anyone, anywhere — any and all occupations; any and all interests or hobbies; famous or non-famous people; male or female, young, middle age or old; pretty, average or not so good looking; meek, demure or strong; rich, middle class or poor; all countries, race, religion and/or color.
Lesson 3: Role, Character and Intentions are independent of each other
Just because Stephen Collins was a great actor and he played the role of a Pastor/Father on 7th Heaven, doesn’t mean that he must be a great father and have sound morals in his real life. His professional life has no bearing on his character or his true personality. Just because Jeffrey Epstein gave boatloads of money to organizations to advance medicine and supported good causes, doesn’t mean that he has good intentions towards everything he pursues in life.
It’s interesting to note that we don’t make that connection or transition for actors that play the role of villains. Do we think Kevin Bacon or Kathy Bates are bad people in real life because they played incredibly bad ass villains in The River Wild and Misery, respectively. No, of course not. But we certainly do this for actors that play the good guys. Perhaps it’s because we want to believe in good. And rightly so.
But, it is critical that we make this separation of profession/role and character. They are independent of each other. And we need to pass this teaching to our children.
Lesson 4: Bad guys look good and normal
Sometimes bad guys look scary, dirty and scruffy. But most of the time, that’s not the case. Bad guys look normal. They blend in. They look like average Joe or they may even be fairly good looking. Many look mighty trustworthy. This age-old stereotype of bad guys that look like scary monsters needs to be buried forever.
And bad guys are not just men. There are a growing number of sexual abusers that are women.
If we want to keep our children safe, we must change our image of what a sexual predator looks like.
Lesson 5: Respect must always be earned, no matter who it is
I know of some elderly people, monks and priests that share their wisdom of hate and ignorance. I know of teachers and bosses that have been sexually suggestive. I know of very successful businesspeople that are unethical, have trampled over innocent lives to climb the ladder of success and would sell their Mother if they had to. Rulers of countries and their family members are involved in child trafficking, buying and raping women and having sex parties comprised of under age girls.
So should we shower them with respect just because they are older than us, wear the right wardrobe, have more money and status than us or are rulers of countries?
Absolutely not! We need to re-teach ourselves, and our kids, that respect is earned. Respect is not to be handed out like candy just because of age, profession, financial status or their perceived image in the community.
Lesson 6: Question things
It’s healthy. And especially allow your children the freedom to ask questions and/or question what they see and experience.
Lesson 7: Trust, but continue to verify
We cannot live in a constant state of fear and be suspicious of everyone we meet all the time. That’s no way to live. Besides, there are incredibly beautiful and kind people that we meet everyday. There are more of them than there are bad people. So how do we balance the art of trusting and being vigilant? In business, they say — Trust, but verify. We should apply that lesson in all aspects of our lives. We can verify with our gut instincts and fact check with our friends for example. Focus on actions, not words. Are they consistent with the image being portrayed?
Also, people change with time, experiences and new influences. So it’s important to continue to verify. Blind faith and trust could be dangerous.
If you are a victim or know someone that needs help in becoming a survivor, please contact Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network at 1.800.656.HOPE