My Questions About the #MeToo Moment

From Huffington Post:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/my-questions-about-the-metoo-moment_us_5a4f9ef3e4b0cd114bdb3280

By Phyllis Chesler
01/05/2018

I am glad so many women are speaking out—and I hope that this leads to some enduring changes; I would be delighted if this moment becomes a movement which leads to legislation that is both funded and enforced. Good faith and hard-won victories such as The Violence Against Women Act and the William Wilberforce Act Against Human Trafficking were passed, under-funded and therefore, could not fulfill their missions.

I am glad that women-workers-as-prey are each publicly confirming the details of their working lives—but I worry about our blurring all distinctions. An unwanted and forcible kiss is not legally the same as being forcibly touched, sexually assaulted. or kidnapped, beaten, and gang-raped.

The New York State Penal Law distinguishes between Sexual misconduct, Forcible touching, Sexual abuse, Aggravated Sexual Abuse, Rape, Criminal Sexual Act, Facilitated Sex Offense with a Controlled Substance, and Predatory Sexual Assault. Each violation is described differently and is subject to different penalties. We must remain aware of these distinctions.

However, I am concerned about something that is not even part of this Penal Law. Can we reduce to a single penalty the reality of an ongoing sexually hostile and coercive work environment, one filled with leers, sexualized comments, demeaning pats, humiliating exposures to pornography, street corner-like wolf calls and low whistles, repeated discussions of how women “look,” non-stop invitations to go out drinking, to a strip club—or to a hotel ? What do we call having to endure a brothel-like atmosphere at work?

I also worry when a mere accusation is equivalent to a conviction. Most entertainers and Talking Heads are employees at will and, as such, are not entitled to due process. They can be hired and fired and will. Those employees with union protection are entitled to inside hearings which may take years and in which the woman who has made the allegation will be fired, or eventually paid off with a pittance. This, too, is worrisome.

I am glad that Hollywood celebrities have crafted a very good ad and launched a fund for lawsuits about on-the-job sexual harassment and abuse. Yet, however noble this statement may be, I wonder whether such “virtue signaling” will be able to change the working conditions of farm and factory workers? More important, how will we be able to monitor and intervene in the daily work lives of female agricultural workers, waitresses, secretaries, housekeepers, bar tenders, miners, students, soldiers and prostituted women?

Yes, I am concerned with prostituted women who are paid to be treated with contempt: groped, grabbed, cursed, slapped, beaten, and sexually assaulted. I now wonder whether their working lives will become harder, harsher, if powerful men lose their sexual perks in the office and have to pay to treat women badly.

Still, I am glad the #MeToo Moment is happening. One hopes that women will be less afraid of exposing work-related sexual harassment and rape. But will they? Will lawyers agree to represent these women? Will juries find the perpetrators guilty when they really are?

Continue reading at:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/my-questions-about-the-metoo-moment_us_5a4f9ef3e4b0cd114bdb3280

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More people aging alone as ‘elder orphans’

From The Olympian:  http://www.theolympian.com/news/local/article192820524.html

By Anna Schlecht
January 03, 2018

With luck and good genetics, you might be able to live on your own terms until the end of your days. But chances are, if you live long enough, you’ll eventually need help with things like cooking, cleaning and personal care. And independence becomes harder given the growing number of people who are aging alone as “elder orphans.”

According to AARP, more than 20 percent or 8.6 million people older than 65 are now, or are at risk of becoming, an elder orphan — a senior citizen who does not have a spouse, significant other or children

With luck and good genetics, you might be able to live on your own terms until the end of your days. But chances are, if you live long enough, you’ll eventually need help with things like cooking, cleaning and personal care. And independence becomes harder given the growing number of people who are aging alone as “elder orphans.”

According to AARP, more than 20 percent or 8.6 million people older than 65 are now, or are at risk of becoming, an elder orphan — a senior citizen who does not have a spouse, significant other or children to help care for them as they age. A far greater percentage have adult children who, for whatever reason, are unable or unwilling to help care for them.

This number will increase steadily until it doubles by the year 2050. That’s a lot of people who will need help to age in place.

Aging alone is tough given that the vast majority of elder care is provided by families through “informal caregiver” networks. These are networks of relatives who are pressed into service by need without specialized training. They are the people who cook, clean, and assist elderly people with basic personal care needs. According to a 2010 report, “The Evolving Balance of Formal and Informal, Institutional and non-Institutional Long-Term Care for Older Americans: a Thirty-Year Perspective,” two-thirds of older people who need assistance received all of their home-based care from a family caregiver, usually wives and daughters. Of this group of family caregivers, almost a third are themselves 65 or older. Approximately a quarter of elders received both informal care and some paid caregivers. Less than 10 percent relied solely upon on paid caregivers.

The Family Caregiver Alliance’s National Center on Caregiving reports that in 2015 there were nearly 66 million informal family and friend caregivers who cared for older adults who were unable to manage their “activities of daily living,” or ADLs, such as bathing, dressing or eating. This statistic includes a “live-in” category of offspring who move in with parents or grandparents to help them with unskilled care. It also includes a “drop-in” category of care from informal family networks of adult children or family friends who are visiting caregivers. Typically, they share the duties of elder care, with some providing food, others providing transportation or other assistance.

As a result of the growing need for elder care and the reduced numbers of family members willing or able to provide it, the Home Care Provider industry has grown rapidly to accommodate older people without family caregivers. As one of the fastest growing health care sectors, home care is a more affordable alternative than assisted living facilities, which cost as much as $9,000 per month, or skilled nursing, which can cost more than $3,000 per day. In comparison, home care costs average about $50 per day, clearly the most affordable option.

What does this all mean? It’s not an issue for my parents’ generation of 90-somethings, who are happily out-numbered by their numerous children who are eager to provide care. But for my generation of 60-somethings, the outlook isn’t so rosy. Many baby boomers, including me, are positioned to become elder orphans.

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