Herman Cain And Sexual Harassment: Am I In A Conservative Twilight Zone?

November 9, 2011 / 1:15 am • By Dr. Melissa Clouthier

Have conservatives lost their minds? Am I really hearing talk show hosts picking apart women who have asserted that Herman Cain engaged in sexual harassment? Am I seeing bloggers and journalists trot down the race card road?

I have been utterly appalled this last week. Mind you, and before getting into all this, here’s some of my history: When the Duke LaCrosse story came forth and after examining all the facts, it was evident that the whole thing was preposterous and a disgusting false charge against innocent young men. So zealous about the case was I that two mothers of boys accused of the heinous crimes wrote me emails to thank me for standing for their boys.

The stench of sexual assault and harassment charges lingers around even innocent men and it is an objective evil when this happens. Not only are innocent men tainted for the rest of their lives with doubt, women who have been abused and assaulted fear charging their aggressor for being accused of making up the story.

False charges are an abomination.

True charges denied by a serial abuser are an abomination, too.

We don’t know all the details yet, surrounding Herman Cain’s alleged sexual harassment charges. Here’s what we do know:

  • Five women have been either outed or spoken of in the press
  • Two women have come forward publicly
  • One woman has given a detailed account with verifiable/refutable details
  • Herman Cain has issued a blanket denial that he has EVER sexually harassed anyone
  • Herman Cain has blamed the press, Obama, David Axelrod, Rick Perry, the women
  • Herman Cain didn’t know about the settlements agreements and never knew there were accusations
  • Herman Cain detailed the settlements/agreements/accusations to Curt Anderson in 2004
  • So, on this backdrop, I’m going to tell you my story of sexual harassment. Why? Well, it damn sure isn’t because it’s helpful to my cause if I do. Thank God I’m 1) self-employed and 2) don’t give a poop what people think. Most women don’t have that luxury. Just leveling a sexual harassment charge can damage a woman’s credibility. She’s “difficult”. She will be trouble. So, women with legitimate complaints stay quiet. They want to move forward in the work world.

    The reason that sexual harassment settlements are sealed are often for the benefit of the accuser, so her reputation isn’t destroyed by a vindictive work peer or employer.

    Does that mean that there aren’t women who bring spurious and frivolous claims? Hell no. That exists, too. Obviously. I’m guessing it must happen a lot because the men of Twitter and talk radio have been venomous and utterly certain that all five of the accusers are vile skanks making up stuff to destroy an innocent, innocent man.

    Some men aren’t innocent men. I know you’re thinking of your own behavior and thoughts and figuring your clumsy actions and stupid jokes qualified as harassment at some point. Maybe. Some guys have a pattern of being harassing jerks, though. One socially awkward moment does not a harasser make.

    Anyway, since many of you reading this know me both through my writing and in real life, I thought I’d tell my story.

    Newly married, recent college graduate, 23, and jobless, I took temporary jobs to live. You know those kids bitching at the Occupy Wall Street rallies? That could have been me. Instead, I worked minimum wage plus as receptionists and secretaries. A Theology degree won’t get you a job? The hell you say!

    So, my second job after working as a receptionist at a trucking company (all the men were respectful, if crass) was at an architectural and engineering firm.

    My new boss was Ken. Ken had a reputation. He had gone through something like 21 assistants in 20 years. Ken picked fights with younger workers. He came to work drunk after his five martini Friday lunches. Ken was old school.

    Ken had a glass office. On two sides of his office, Ken stared out at his assistant. More specifically, he leered out at his assistant all day. It was disconcerting, to say the least. He didn’t have to say a word. He just eye-f*cked you all day long.

    But that sort of behavior doesn’t rise to the level of harassment–well, at least it didn’t to me. Annoying? Yes. Disgusting to be stared at by a nearly 60 year old man all day long? Absolutely.

    Then one day, Ken reached for something on my desk, after walking up behind me, and “accidentally” grabbed my breast.

    I was shocked. I told one girlfriend and swore her to secrecy. Why? Because Ken was powerful. I needed the job and he had a reputation for firing uppity help. Plus, the local human resources guy was impotent and cowered before mighty Ken. Ken happened to own the biggest account in the company. He was, he thought, untouchable.

    Around two weeks later, the corporate head of Human Resources, a woman, came to town for meetings. We happened to be in the bathroom at the same time and I told her what happened. She asked if I would be willing to go on the record. I said yes. She told me that they had tried to get women to go on the record for years, but they were afraid of Ken.

    I knew all hell was about to break loose, but by this time I hated Ken and didn’t care. He was put on probation. Not fired. And as much as I disliked Ken, he hated me with a pure, singularly-focused hatred. He shot laserbeams through that glass at me. Hostile work environment? You betcha!

    Now, you might say, “Melissa, he grabbed you, that’s assault! Why didn’t you go to the police?”

    Back then, no one thought in those terms. He was just an entitled dick. The thought of going to the police never occurred to me. Even now, the idea seems laughable.

    I just wanted Ken to stop. More, it made me really angry that he had gotten away with this for years.

    Maybe I should have threatened a lawsuit. I can understand why some women did. As it was, I was interviewing for another job outside of this company and got out and had the satisfaction that the next woman who had to suffer with Ken wouldn’t have to worry (probably) about being abused by him.

    What people now don’t understand is the way the work world used to be. Twenty years ago things were entirely different. There was a five to ten year transition where men learned and adapted to women being in the workforce –and not just in helping roles.

    Twenty years ago, women were graduating with degrees and just starting to be peers to men, instead of subordinates.

    Guys my age and younger have less issues. They’re used to working with women and having female bosses. The dynamics of the workplace have changed dramatically.

    The world has changed and a lot for the better. Some things not for the better. But a woman in the work world does not have to deal with the bull women dealt with even a decade ago.

    A friend of the former generation spoke of anger between the sexes–strident women and frustrated men. Now, men and women have far more flexibility and amicable relations.

    When I see young men decry the spurious claims against Herman Cain and say that a $35,000 or $46,000 claim is small potatoes, I laugh. Really? Most of these cases were like mine and no money exchanged hands at all. That Herman Cain has two, TWO!, cases like this outstanding against him makes me think that there’s more than nothing to this story.

    One woman bringing a spurious claim against an executive is absolutely plausible. Two? Come on. And now, there’s five women who have spoken out about harassment or certainly, highly questionable judgement?

    It seems that conservatives would at least give these women a hearing before casting them into the lake of fire.

    This case is nothing like what happened to Clarence Thomas. I’ll even give Anita Hill the benefit of the doubt and believe Thomas said something about a pube on a Coke can. That is not sexual harassment. It’s stupid. People are stupid.

    Now, I recognize that everyone one of these women can be filthy, lying [fill in the blank epithet] manipulated by nefarious Democrat or establishment Republican or biased media sources to plot against a black conservative man.

    Can we wait, though, to destroy these ladies until the whole story comes out? Herman Cain doesn’t think so. He’s in full nuke ’em mode.

    I understand that Herman Cain can’t prove a negative.

    What he can do is this: he can prove positive assertions wrong. He can go to the Hilton and release those room records and prove his accuser is a liar instead of asserting that she is one.

    The Anchoress just wrote about what Herman Cain should have said today.

    So, maybe everyone can just chill a bit?

    Beyond all the media bias (and there’s lots of that), there are people involved. It would be appalling if these women were victimized twice–and at the hands of conservatives who know better.

    • Jo3

      I know someone who is getting 40k for signing her name to an existing suit she doesn’t have much to do with. I’m sorry for your grief, but there is a lot at stake here. One of the women that accused Cain got less than 40k. Too many people want him gone for me to be swayed so quickly. I WANT PROOF!

    • Jo3

      I know someone who is getting 40k for signing her name to an existing suit she doesn’t have much to do with. I’m sorry for your grief, but there is a lot at stake here. One of the women that accused Cain got less than 40k. Too many people want him gone for me to be swayed so quickly. I WANT PROOF!

    • I couldn’t locate the quote I hoped to share,

      so I’ll paraphrase…

      One of our Nation’s Founders said he “feared taking the reins of power.  He feared for his mortal soul.”

      What did he fear?  The corruption of power AND the power of corruption. 

      As Melissa pointed out, it was a time of massive change in the workplace, but the two-century-old warning has never lost its ring of truth.  Don’t assume you are above your weaknesses.  Don’t assume others are, either.

    • Tom Lehner

      You know Melissa,
      As usually I love your article well written fair and balanced. Blame the feminists. I can tell you out of my own experience that so many woman make false aquisations on advice of their attorneys in order to get either an easy divorce (and take the men for everything even the woman might broke the marriage) or to get what they want inclusive slandering the name of a man that most judges can hardly decide anymore of what is a true and what is a false claim – one way or the other the mans names are destroyed and the woman get no prosecution or dont have to take any responsibility for their actions whatsoever for their false claims – THANK YOU FEMINISTS – as I usually say: FEMINISTS ARE PARASITES.

    • I respect that you went through something terrible. However, we already know various things about the latest accuser that make her seem questionable, to say the least. A litigious background is probably the most troubling thing, with her. 

      Ultimately, here is what we know:

      1. We have accusations, but as far as we know, no real credible witnesses to these events. It is purely he said, she said.
      2. In a political campaign, charges of misconduct of a sexual nature are always a favorite tactic to discredit a politician on the right. See Governor Haley in SC. See the failed attempt to do this with John McCain.

      Also, we have some logical fallacies to combat, such as:

      1. The amount of charges does not equate to truth. The fact that there are five women does not necessarily mean that any one of these charges is true, if any of them are.
      2. The seriousness of the charge does not make it more true.

      We have to go by evidence. The only evidence we know of, at the moment, is one settlement (extremely common practice, as most institutions fear even a hint of trouble in this area and *will* over-react), and the testimony of the latest accuser. It isn’t hard to develop a case against her. I don’t think doing so is casting her in a lake of fire. She’s making a serious charge, after all. The rest of these are very vague accusations of “harassment,” which we know almost nothing about.

      This, to me, seems flimsy indeed. And, please, let us not make the mistake, as conservatives, of considering this to be like Bill Clinton. This is nothing like Bill Clinton. With Clinton, we had the following:

      1. Not just an isolated era in someone’s life (Cain’s work with the NRA in DC), but a lifetime of trouble.
      2. Vastly superior evidence of wrong doing. In some cases, I’m not even sure Clinton denied anything, either. Accusers were public right away. Tons of details.
      3. Of course, there is the lying under oath thing.

      Perhaps more concrete evidence will emerge, but I don’t feel convinced by these women, especially considering that I hardly know anything about all but one of them (and a little about the one that just came out today). I think the timing is also of concern. We are talking about ten year old+ events. You have a man that has run for president briefly once already and ran for senate once. Curious that this stuff is coming out now. 

      Also, it cannot be underestimated that our society has been emasculated for decades now, and that these accusations are easy to make and that the accused are pretty much “guilty until proven innocent,” which is exactly how Mr. Cain is being treated here.  

      The most troubling thing, though, is I have a feeling if this same problem were occurring with Governor Perry, who you endorse, I feel that you wouldn’t be so ready to hang em’ high.

      Someone’s gonna win this nomination and we’ll all pull together. I just wish we’d give our own guys/gals the benefit of the doubt more, especially when actual, real evidence is missing. Even if said guy/gal isn’t the one you are endorsing :/

    • Toadstool

      Go tell it to Oprah.  Your little vignette says nothing except that your vocabulary is crabbed and the vulgarisms are worthy of OWS.  

      Why don’t you just breathe for a moment, then write?

    • Anonymous

      For the people scoffing and noting that one woman lacks credibility, all I’m saying is that waiting for the facts seems prudent rather than reflexively blaming the women.

      Of course these charges do not equate truth. And even in my own case, it was entirely my word against his. It just happens that I *am* telling the truth and that he’s a filthy, long-term lecher.

      Also, I’ve heard people say things like, “he didn’t even touch her” or “his words weren’t even suggestive”. Please note, that Ken here didn’t have to say one word to create a hostile work environment.

      None of this means squat when it comes to Herman Cain and his accusers except that, I think a fair hearing should be allowed for. Too many of Cain defenders are so convinced of his purity they are not even allowing for the possibility that any of these women were doing anything but grubbing for money, fame, whatever.

      But I’m not seeing the upside for these ladies. They’re already being systematically destroyed by people. Why in the world would any sensible, decent woman come forward? I can see why they stayed quiet until now. This is exactly what they hoped to avoid. I’m guessing that someone they worked with opened up this story because I can’t imagine *wanting* this.

      We don’t know that HC is a sexual harasser. We also don’t know that these women are liars. Women. Plural.

    • Weggiesq

      I have defended several people who have been wrongly accused.  It ruined their life.  The number of claims is no indication of culpability.  There are often “me too” claims by those seeking to capitalize.  The two settlements, what is he accused of doing?  Sexual harassment runs the gambit from attempted rape to an unwanted compliment of a women’s dress.  On one end of the spectrum, everybody agrees it’s wrong, on the other end, the accuser and the accused can see things quite differently.  As for your point by points:

      Five women have been
      either outed or spoken of in the press


      Five, the
      last one claimed that Cain took her, with 2 other women to dinner and stuck her
      with the tab for 2 $200 bottles of wine (even though he was the keynote and his expenses should have been
      covered)  She says he did nothing


      Two women have come
      forward publicly


      One made a
      claim with the NRA, she was paid $45k to settle at the same time Bill Clinton
      was paying $850k.  Harassment law in the
      late 90’s was something companies did not fight.  $45k is an indication that nothing happened,
      or if something did, it was a simple misunderstanding or something.


      One woman has given a
      detailed account with verifiable/refutable details

      questions about these, and the credibility of the source, just as in the Duke case
      isn’t attacking the “victim”, A women coming out 14 years after the fact seems
      to parallel Clarence Thomas to a Tee.


      I have
      tons of questions I need answered in my mind. 
      E.g., http://tinypaste.com/1733d89d


      Herman Cain has issued
      a blanket denial that he has EVER sexually harassed anyone



      Herman Cain has blamed
      the press, Obama, David Axelrod, Rick Perry, the women


               This I give you, if you are claiming
      you’ve been falsely accused without facts to support it, you don’t make
      accusations against others without facts to support it. 


      Herman Cain didn’t
      know about the settlements agreements and never knew there were

      Cain detailed the settlements/agreements/accusations to Curt Anderson in 2004


               I’m sure he knew the claims were made
      and that he briefed Curt Anderson it could come up, what exactly he told him is
      unknown.  This is part of Cain’s poor
      handling of the situation, but those who have been praised for their handling
      of these types of claims e.g., Clinton, actually did everything claimed.  Handling of the situation is not an indication
      of guilt.

    • Anonymous

      I didn’t support Herman Cain before these allegations came out so they change precisely nothing for me. There are better, more informed candidates, IMO and not choosing Herman Cain for President is swayed neither way when it comes to these charges.

      Also, if these charges against him turn out to be false, you will see me vehemently go after the false accusers. Like I started out here, in this piece, the damage false accusations can do to a person are horrendous and unfair.  I’ve seen numerous cases of false allegations — everything from harassment to assault to rape — where men have been dragged through the system and some destroyed. It is EVIL when this happens.I also understand that five accusers does not truth make. It makes it more likely to have happened…but it doesn’t mean that it did happen.

      So I am not saying that Herman Cain sexually harassed anyone.

      I am saying it is a possibility. Because it is possible, I am withholding judgment against these women until the facts are known.

      I would like every woman to come out, go on the record, and say what happened. That would be better for all of us, if they did, to make an informed opinion about this whole thing.

      What does upset me though, is that if these women WERE harassed and DIDN’T want this to come out for their own privacy (family, children, career) THEY ARE BEING VIOLATED TWICE. Worse, it’s conservatives who are doing it.

      There is no winning in this situation for anyone involved. I get that we live in a Reality TV world, however, the fame thing just doesn’t jibe with me. The women who came out against Bill Clinton were destroyed. 

      And another thing:

      I get the media lopsidedness. It makes me sick. Barack Obama has NEVER been vetted. As someone yesterday said, there have been multiple, credible rumors that Obama has had gay affairs. Are they true? Who knows? The media would NEVER go after them because they don’t WANT to know if he’s gay or bisexual or anything that would harm the liberal cause.

      It is disgusting that implications of wrong doing can destroy a Republican, but actual wrong doing (Kennedy – murder, Barney Frank – gay brothel, ties to financial institution, Clinton – harassment, assault, and maybe even rape) are completely excused by the left and media.

      This imbalance is absolutely wrong, vile, unfair, and Republicans shouldn’t put up with it. And we didn’t. We (including me) didn’t let the Weiner-gate thing go. But really, the only reason he’s gone is because liberals didn’t like him either.

      So, this unfairness really irks. Cain supporters, I’d point out, PILED ON the “racist rock” story about Rick Perry. Herman Cain piled on himself. He seemed perfectly fine with the media destroying a fellow conservative and couldn’t see the implications of what they were up to. And I have repeatedly warned conservatives that the goal of the media is to make it seem like NO Republicans are worthy of higher office, including the currently beloved Romney. 

      Republicans are far to willing to eat their own. And that makes me sick, too. Some people are seeing this case as a way of retribution for the unfairness of the media during the Bill Clinton years and are gleefully making them eat their bias.

      All I am saying is that I am not willing to jump on the let’s-destroy-the-women-bandwagon until more is known.

      The left and the media are absolutely wrong. What they did, for example, to an innocent citizen, aka Joe the Plumber, was unconscionable.

      I want the right to be better than that. Facts and the truth should matter to us.

    • Mjmsonofasm

      Until there is proof to the contrary I’ll give HC the benefit of the doubt. His opponents/detractors can easily make it worthwhile for these women to fabricate stories.  That approach is certainly not without precedent. On the other hand, your suggestion that he release the “upgraded room” records from the hotel is an excellent and quite reasonable first step in supporting his position.  IF he upgraded her room, WHY?  If that is true, that would be very difficult to explain and would sow serious seeds of doubt about him in my mind.  

    • Anonymous

      Consider this:  All this alleged misconduct by Cain, if true, would mean he somehow ran amok for a couple of years and only those two years of his life.  Does that make sense?

    • Three things:

      1. Gloria Allred doesn’t represent respectable clients. Respectable people wouldn’t hire Gloria Allred. Sharon Bialek does more damage to this “scandal,” or will after all of her skeletons come out of the closet (including the fact that she once lost a paternity case after attempting to hook a corporate CEO in as her baby-daddy) than anybody else could.

      2. Why is it that all of Cain’s supposed unwanted advances came out of the National Restaurant Association? Why haven’t any of them come from Pillsbury, Burger King or Godfather’s Pizza? Or the Federal Reserve?

      3. Even if we were to stipulate that all of these allegations are true, which in the case of Karen Kraushaar and perhaps the others we can’t even figure out what the allegations actually are, did we not just a few years ago happily endure two terms of a president who was essentially a serial rapist? It would seem to me that until this country rejects Bill Clinton as a disgrace no number of discomfiting statements Herman Cain can make would disqualify him.

      Cain isn’t my guy. But it’s obvious the Left is trying to pick our candidate for us, and the country is burning down thanks to fires they’re fanning.

    • Pingback: Herman Cain’s Accusers: More David Axelrod Monkey Business? « Blog Entry « Dr. Melissa Clouthier()

    • mike devx

      The author says:
      > One woman has given a detailed account with verifiable/refutable details

      And yet those details have NOT yet been verified nor refuted.
      Cain does not have to be the one to verify them or refute them.
      You are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, and yet, he is guilty now, until HE proves his own innocence.

      In general this is a terrible position for any accused to be in.

      If this succeeds, with only the current level of unsubstantiated allegations, in this dirty political environment, then we are in bad shape, all of us!  Any conservative candidate can be taken down by an organized political hit job.

      Proven sexual harassment is a disqualifier for consideration as a presidential nominee.  Unproven sexual harassment is not.  We can’t let that happen.  Consider the horrendous ramifications.