He squeezed a handful of flesh. Now Sen. Al Franken is history. But what does that mean--a handful of flesh? Squeezing one’s waist? A shoulder? An arm?

A simple accusation and one’s entire life can be ruined. Simple as that.

During a recent group discussion, I told a woman participant I am afraid of her. Surprised, she said, “Afraid of me?” I explained, not just her, any woman today, adding, "I am afraid to ride an elevator with a woman today unless there are others present. I will get off first."

Why? Because I know my reputation, indeed, my entire life could be destroyed in an instant by a simple word of accusation. No proof, mind you. An accusation.

How likely is that? Not very. But it exists. And one cannot know which woman might do so.

Last week a dear friend greeted me, as usual, with a hug. Jokingly, I backed off saying, “Oh no. I’m not hugging anymore.” She didn’t see it as a joke. She thought I was serious. She was hurt. I apologized profoundly and seriously, realizing how complex this issue has become.

But this week, with a group of men at a local center, we were told not to pass near another group, this of women, because we made them feel “uncomfortable.” As a result, we had to change our meeting day.

No proof is required in the court of public opinion. Lives can be destroyed simply by accusations. Enough is enough!

DONALD ALLISON

Janesville

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