Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Sections
Blog Section Banner
 
You are here: Home >> Blog >> Marie Fortune's Blogs >> Sure, Mr. President . . .

Sure, Mr. President . . .

Feb 16, 2012 — Categories:

The sad but not surprising story of Mimi Alford’s “affair” with President Kennedy when she was an undergraduate echoes Monica Lewinsky and poses the question:

The sad but not surprising story of Mimi Alford’s “affair” with President Kennedy when she was an undergraduate echoes Monica Lewinsky and poses the question: how many White House interns over the years have sexually serviced presidents?

When I was Alford’s age, I was probably even more naïve than she, and I have no doubt that I could easily have been taken advantage of by JFK. What would any of us have done in this circumstance? What could have prepared us for this encounter with the most powerful, charismatic man in the world in a pre-feminist time when patriarchal values and expectations shaped virtually every dimension of our lives and our options?

Just to be clear: Kennedy bears sole responsibility for this long “affair.” He did not hesitate to use his power and sense of entitlement to seduce this young, sexually inexperienced woman and then keep her at his beck and call for sexual services for himself and others. He knew no one would challenge his behavior. This was sexual abuse and exploitation.

During February, Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, I have suggested that we may not always be able to protect the young people we care about from abuse by their peers or by adults in their lives be they coaches, pastors, professors, or presidents. But we should be able to prepare them with information and to be for them a trusted adult to whom they can turn for help.

Ask yourself the question, “how would you prepare your daughter or your son for an encounter with a powerful person who would take advantage of them?” And then my usual question: how are our faith communities helping to prepare our youth and young adults to even understand what they may encounter? To be able to see beyond the bling, the sweet words, the heady atmosphere, the presents, the power and say to themselves: “this person wants to use me, exploit me, steal myself from me and no matter how attractive the proposition may sound, I am better than this and I will not be used.”

We could begin with Bible study of Chapter 1 of the book of Esther, and the heroine, Queen Vashti. Look it up.

Rev. Dr. Marie M. Fortune
FaithTrust Institute
www.faithtrustinstitute.org

Document Actions