Sexual assault allegations follow you throughout life

William T. Robinson, Jr.

Once again, a high profile celebrated star athlete, Antonio Brown, has been charged with allegations of rape and sexual misconduct. Mind you these are alleged charges that have yet to be proven valid, but nevertheless (regardless of whether he is innocent or not) in the minds of many people, his image has been tarnished. While it is sad that if one is found innocent (especially a well-known executive or celebrity) there will always be a loss of endorsements, snide looks, and murmurs of gossip among once adoring fans.

Let’s just face it: in America, you are considered guilty until proven innocent. The stain of the allegations against you always follows you. It’s a sad scenario, but true. It doesn’t help your case if you have a history of bizarre discretionary conduct and behavior. That is just more ammunition they can use against you. We must be cognizant that we are living in the era of the ‘Me Too Movement,’ and past and present acts of sexual assault or sexual misconduct are unacceptable. Such information is coming to the forefront to wreak havoc and cause dire consequences for those found guilty.

Once acceptable conversations and remarks among those of the opposite sex are now viewed as contentious and are deemed unacceptable. Once complimentary remarks toward someone can now be viewed as unwanted sexual advances. America as a whole is trying to find some middle ground as to what is considered appropriate, taking everyone’s feelings into consideration. Men more so than women are now extremely cautious in conversing with females. Some may like compliments, but others are opposed to them. They may feel uncomfortable with men complimenting them.

Make no mistake, all women (especially African American women) are not going along with not being complimented by men—especially when they have gone the extra mile to look good and be noticed and complimented. One must understand all compliments do not carry sexual overtones, and most people are intuitive enough to know the difference. The major problem is what is considered consensual between two parties. When does one cross the line? During these times, it is crucial to establish boundaries and an understanding early in a relationship, especially during dating. One cannot assume another party feels the same way they feel and should exercise caution until they are on the same page.

There are steps to take to protect your image, but it is not guaranteed. There are scheming, malicious, and spiteful people out there looking to take advantage of someone who is extremely successful, prominent, famous, or extremely vulnerable. They will use you. If they truly like you and the feeling is not reciprocated, it can lead to pure chaos. Falsified allegations of sexual assault and physical abuse (for no other reason than to be vindictive) can ruin or taint your reputation. Yes, too often this is the sweet loving caring person you thought was so innocent.

Now we must emphasize that by no means should a woman or any human being be subjected to sexual assault (rape or touching someone inappropriately without their consent). It is unacceptable and inexcusable, and the perpetrator should be dealt with appropriately.

There are some men and women who physically and sexually take advantage of others against their will by threatening their victims with bodily harm or death if they tell anyone. Some perpetrators go as far as threatening to kill their victim’s family members. Too often, the victimized are intimidated. They choose to remain silent after being led to believe no one will believe his or her allegations. Bringing the truth to light can be excruciatingly painful as well as dehumanizing.

A person using their position or celebrated status to sexually or physically assault someone is a bully and should be revealed and suffer the consequences of their actions. But the slippery slope is this: if an alleged person is found not guilty, how is that person truly vindicated? What comes of those who proclaimed or filed false allegations or charges against an innocent person?

Parents, you would be doing your young teenage children a grave injustice if you didn’t take the time to discuss the reality of relationships. Tell them to treat all people with dignity and respect. Let them know their actions follow them throughout life, and they cannot afford not to utilize forbearance in their choices. Sexual and physical abuse does not discriminate.

As it stands now, celebrated wide receiver Antonio Brown has suffered a fall from fame—even though he who has played with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Raiders, and New England Patriots. He has been identified with sexual assault allegations against him, and it doesn’t help his case that he has been released from two NFL teams within two weeks. Right or wrong, the word is that you can stick a fork in Antonio’s career as a professional athlete. Brown has vowed that he is done with the NFL. I pray that whatever happens to Antonio Brown will be a learning lesson for other young people, especially for those aspiring to careers in major professional sports.

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