Herman Cain recently suspended” his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, in response to continuing allegations of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and an extramarital affair. Despicable conduct, if true. What really bothers me about Mr Cain’s reponse to these allegations, though, is that he doesn’t ever say anything about how repulsive and inappropriate (not to mention illegal) the alleged behavior is. He keeps saying that he didn’t do it. And for a while he called for America to re -focus on the issues. Which implies that a presidential candidate’s attitude and behavior toward women could not be a valid campaign issue. Why can’t he say something about how sexual harassment and sexual assault are unacceptable?
I mean, even Joe Paterno was able to come up with, “The kids who were victims . . . I think we all ought to say a prayer for them. It’s a tough life when people do certain things to you." Inadequate, yes, but at least he acknowledged how awful child sexual abuse is. With Herman Cain, the message seems to be more about how inconsequential the allegations are than about how untrue they are. I find that as offensive as the allegations themselves.
What do you think about Herman Cain’s approach to this scandal?
Peg Shippert is a psychotherapist in private practice in Boulder, Colorado. She has a deep passion for working with survivors of sexual violence and other traumas.