#MeToo | Oct. 22, Perspective
There’s help for victims of assault
The past few weeks have served as a sobering reminder that sexual harassment and sexual assault are pervasive problems in our society. The #MeToo social media movement has been fueled by the fact that Harvey Weinstein was able to use his power and influence in Hollywood to intimidate and allegedly assault some of the biggest stars in movies and TV. As we’ve viewed Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms, we’ve seen friends and family members reveal that they too have been the victim of sexual harassment or assault at some point in their lives.
But for every person who has posted "#MeToo," there are many more who will not post about what happened to them. However, this doesn’t mean they need to suffer alone and in silence.
We encourage anyone who is a victim of sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or other forms of "power-based violence" to reach out for help. Call 2-1-1 or the rape crisis center in your county. You can speak freely and confidentially. There are people there who will listen to you, believe you and provide you with unconditional support.
Clara Reynolds, Tampa
The writer is president and CEO of the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
Peace wins the day | Oct. 20
Take down his ideas
I was pleased to read that Richard Spencer’s speech at UF went peacefully, even if he was not heard.
I’ve wondered what I might say to the student body before his appearance were I the president. First, I would remind them that history reveals a plethora of wrong/harmful ideas that have cost lives over many centuries. I would also remind them that America has done likewise, from the Salem witch trials to those of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, with stops along the way with slavery, the Trail of Tears, eugenics and the KKK.
Accordingly, were they to go to hear Spencer they should listen and formulate an appraisal of him via critical thinking. Such is preferable to mob behavior that discourages same. Indeed, are they not in a university to learn to appraise and think dispassionately? Writing a position paper and discussing/critiquing his ideas would be even better at sharpening one’s thoughts.
Anthony Moore, Tampa
Shout down hate speech
To the three letter writers last week who believe Richard Spencer was unfairly shut down at UF: If you think hate speech deserves an open airing, you are on the wrong side of history. Hate speech should always be ignored or shouted down. There is no debating with those who advocate the elimination or limitation of other human beings.
And for the writer who believed the students should have responded with "well-reasoned arguments," that’s fair to say, but good luck in this case. Spencer knows his narrow history, is highly rehearsed, and controlled the microphone. He repeatedly interrupted student speakers with sarcasm (the weapon of the weak) or juvenile insults. So much for well-reasoned debate.
Spencer has targeted our premier public universities with a game plan of inciting rage among the students, which might lead to violence. Kudos to the students at UF for not falling for this ploy. The only result at UF was an embarrassingly "amateurish spectacle" that revealed Spencer has little of value to say to any of us.
Caryn McDermott, Tampa
Spencer came out on top
Richard Spencer got his freedom of speech Thursday when he was allowed to rent a hall to mouth his idiotic rantings about a white-only America. I believe that, even though Spencer never got to say what he came to say. Still, Spencer won this round.
What should have happened is: Spencer takes to the podium, rants for a few minutes to a sea of empty seats, then slithers back to his car and disappears. Instead, he was greeted with jeers and chants. And now we have the picture, surely welcomed by Spencer and his ideologues, of college students, seemingly afraid of his ideas, cutting him off.
I pray that the next university to be visited by this cretin will greet him with the only sound that will truly hurt his cause: silence.
Jay Goley, Safety Harbor
Video backs Wilson in spat with White House Oct. 21
Questions are in order
Since when is it "inappropriate" to call out any public official? Sarah Huckabee Sanders is way out of line to say it is inappropriate to call out former Marine general/chief of staff John Kelly.
Adding insult to injury, Kelly lied about Rep. Frederica Wilson. The tape proves it. The fact that a former military officer believes he has the right to lie and not admit it is beyond the pale.
Elizabeth Belcher, Seffner
Kelly lost credibility
I have tremendous respect for our military service members and their leaders. And I had faith that former Gen. John Kelly, Donald Trump’s chief of staff, would reinforce that respect. I think we all hoped that he would be the "adult in the room" for the ever-chaotic Trump administration.
But his news conference last week destroyed the hope that there might be any hope for this administration. His initial comments with regard to the manner in which slain servicemen and women are handled were well-meant and even moving.
But then he slid into an entire range of untruths, something that a chief of staff should never do. And in so doing he lost all credibility. His comments about Rep. Frederica Wilson were untrue and without basis. His comments about women were nothing short of ridiculous.
In one fell swoop Kelly went from being a very esteemed and respected anchor in this administration to one more Trump sycophant.
My concern for the well-being of this country seems to grow daily. How long can this continue?
Bill McManus, Oldsmar