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Liberal women can still be apologists for sexual assault

Women, newly assured they are not alone, are telling their stories more often and more publicly than ever before.

On Tuesday, Slate published another example of a powerful person abusing that power and thus endangering women in the workplace.

Benedikt writes that she has heard how horrific allegations of sexual assault and harassment have piled up alongside what she calls “Murkier stories of older men ‘forcibly kissing’ younger women who didn’t want to be kissed, men planting ‘unexpected’ kisses on female colleagues, [and] men being ‘creepy AF’ in Twitter DMs.”

That Benedikt is so quick to write off the experiences of other women, to think that only horrific assaults are the problem, is dangerous.

Last week, NBC fired Today Show host Matt Lauer following sexual harassment complaints from women at the network. Html”>In wake of Weinstein, men wonder if hugging women still OK.” How, the men and Benedikt ask, can we find love now? How can we find sex now? Will we be reprimanded, even fired, for workplace interactions that used to seem okay?

Benedikt is asking the wrong questions. Benedikt’s essay reads as a justification for the origins of her marriage and a public declaration that, despite holding a prominent role in a prominent newsroom, she is sympathetic to powerful men crossing lines with young women whom they supervise.

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