One of my readers posted a comment basically wondering why, if women were being routinely victimized by soon-to-be-former Sen. Norm McAllister, they didn’t go to the authorities? Why put up with the abuse? Why not stay away from the guy?
It’s an understandable reaction. I’ve never been in that situation, and it’s almost impossible to imagine being in that situation. But many people are — more than it’s comfortable to think about — and they feel powerless to resist, evade, or report.
For one great example of this phenomenon, see Morgan Trus’s fine piece on VTDigger regarding “survival sex” — in which victims feel their well-being is dependent on their abuser’s approval. It’s a surprisingly common occurrence, especially in a society where many women are financially dependent on a man.
It was a real pigpile in the Statehouse today, as every politician rushed to give their two cents’ on Sen. Norm McAllister. And while Friday’s reaction was shock and surprise and even a smidge of sympathy for Good Ol’ Norm, today it was the ultimate game of Hot Potato, starring McAllister as the spud in question.
But he was more than just a hot potato; he was more like a potato baked in the hot zone of a nuclear reactor, marinated in snake venom, glazed with a hobo-puke reduction and liberally sprinkled with powdered essence of skunk. Such was the unseemly haste with which Our Leaders sought to distance themselves from McAllister and his [alleged] crimes.
There were universal calls for his resignation, as if the presumption of innocence had withered and died under the sheer ick factor of the [alleged] offenses. And, quick as a bunny, Lt. Gov. Phil Scott announced that McAllister would resign within 24 hours.
The news of his coming resignation elicited barely-concealed sighs of relief and metaphorical mopping of brows all around. But there was one small problem: Nobody told Good Ol’ Norm.