[The Sexuality Blog] After 5 separate allegations of molestation, Senator Ed Murray resigns

Ed Murray’s recent resignation is THE complete guide to understanding just how pervasive the systems that excuse the actions of sexual abusers are.

American senator Ed Murray resigned over the weekend but not through a public press statement is as customary for American politicians at the heart of a media scandal. He did so quietly through a written press statement. And Murray did this for one reason only – to avoid being questioned about the five allegations of sexual molestation, rape and sexual assault that have been leveled against him since the 70’s and 80’s, long before the Senator even thought to apply for office.

So why did the latest accusation matter, even though Murray had refuted and ignored the previous four?

It came from within Murray’s own family when a younger cousin spoke up to accuse him of statutory rape.

The Statute of Limitations on rape is 21 years, so Murray cannot be criminally charged and for all intents and purposes, he has managed to dodge the bullet on his heinous crimes over the last 30 years (although he can still be charged in a civil court) and all the while rising through the ranks of American politics. But being accused of statutory rape – by a cousin – would have opened Murray up to scrutiny in a way that his campaign and career would not survive. So Senator Murray is resigning primarily because his life is over, not because he has anything to say.

It is important that rather than investigate these accusations of assault and statuory rape, Senator Murray was allowed to continue to craft laws for the United States and hold access to inimitable levels of influence. Murray’s victims (all men) were all assaulted as teenagers and it took them decades to understand and embrace the trauma they suffered, enough to come forward and speak on their assaults. Murray might be gone, but his fight to stay on and the system that allowed him sends an important – even if dangerous – messaage to victims: that their stories might be ignored, or outrightly  called a lie.

We already have an epidemic of men hiding their stories of abuse and the last thing we need is more reason to do the same.

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