October 24, 2021- The earnest, committed statements of the polished man gave the young ladies a feeling of relief, and over the ensuing year, they gave him their trust. Little by little, he played on their insecurities, while feigning admiration for their accomplishments. Little by little, he turned them into his personal playthings. Little by little, his baser nature took over, and their self-esteem plummeted.
Many people, over the centuries, have claimed to be advocates and standard bearers for the rights of the less fortunate, while pursuing a far more hideous agenda. This has been true of fields as varied as religion, education, social work and law enforcement. What has fueled the pernicious appetites of judges and politicians has done the same for teachers, police officers, and clergy. It is the person inside, not the uniform or the title, that has led to so much betrayal.
The road to clarity and integrity in this, and other matters of trust, is not always a smooth one. The thing I noticed, long ago, is that those who indulge in surreptitious seduction always get caught. The minute the focus becomes personal gratification, and not helping a client or associate realize her/his dreams, the slope has been greased and the downfall begins.
I think of these scenarios, as I learn of the successes, and struggles, of young women whose personal growth and self-actualization was a huge part of my professional focus, from 1981-2011-and which still is a significant part of my work. My work was to provide very clearly-defined safe havens-and there were no strings attached. I guess the saving grace was that I was in a committed marriage-and since Penny’s death, the primary commitment to helping people-women and men alike- to become their strongest and most secure selves- has remained unshakeable.
Strong women cannot be groomed-and strong men don’t need to try.