What if your daughter, your sweet neighbor, your grandchild had been sexually abused, humiliated and had had her innocence destroyed? What if you had been able to see the child molester’s actions through a peephole? What would you have expected? Well, Jeffery Epstein, who perpetrated such actions on many, many young girls, escaped the full judgment of the justice system because of his wealth, power and influence (and perhaps, too, because he was not black).
His billionaire status gave him the ability to strike a plea deal with Alexander Acosta, the present labor secretary under Trump. At the time of Epstein’s abuses, Acosta was an attorney in Miami, Fla. Epstein’s supreme wealth and power allowed him to get a very light sentence.
Jeffrey Epstein, it seems, plays by the same rule book other powerful men who have been revealed as serial abusers of girls and women. Epstein’s penalty? A scant 13-month stay in a nicer wing of a county jail -- where he was allowed to spend 12 hours a day, six days a week, at his office.
We must end the culture of powerful men enabling each other while dismissing or abusing women and children.
What if men, as well as women, rose in protest? What if men held each other accountable for the atrocities that ruin lives?
As an English teacher for one year in a prison facility that held teenage sex offenders, I saw the culture of misguided thinking. They had no time off, very clear rules, daily counseling and encouragement to read good literature, to write and to evaluate. Every young man in my English classes memorized Edna St. Vincent Millay’s sonnet, “Love is not all…” but that is a story for another time.