A sickness

BY BETTE DEWING

We are hearing lots about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual sins, well this column is a lot, but not only about that. While Woody Allen may not be the right one to say it, it should be considered that “Harvey Weinstein is a very sad sick man.” No doubt sad, “sad” due to the enormous “outing,” but surely decades of repeated sexual assaults against women do indicate a sickness. This is definitely not a defense or excuse, and the greatest tragedy is that victims are afraid to report such violations. Thankfully, this highly publicized scandal by a major film mogul lowers that fear.

As for the “sickness” ... Weinstein has reportedly gone abroad for treatment. An Internet search shows that “Sexaholics Anonymous” groups exist the world over. This sickness or addiction, however, is more complicated than “not taking that first drink,” one of the credos of Alcoholics Anonymous, upon whose basic principles S.A. is founded. Indeed this search shows numerous related treatment groups which get little or no publicity. Nor, most unfortunately does Alcoholics Anonymous for which there’s less stigma attached and a far greater need.

And isn’t it something faith groups should address? And not only the Roman Catholic Church for obvious reasons. While it’s true only an infinitely small minority of priests commit such damaging sins, all must be outed of course, and far more said from the pulpit about the sickness involved and in society at large.

While this may only somewhat relate, how grateful I was for my column being quoted in Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church pastor David Read’s 1980 sermon as follows: “If half the attention were given to getting along with family, friends, neighbors and colleagues as getting along in business and in bed receives, these relationships would be far healthier and so would our neighborhoods, cities and country.” Read added, “Bette wages a valiant war against the dehumanizing forces in our society – all that takes the holy out of humanity.” And that gave me strength to keep trying.

Again, this is not to excuse or minimize the incalculable harm caused by sexual sins, but to learn how to prevent them and also consider them as possible addictions. One number for Sexaholics Anonymous in NYC is 212-459 4044. And the number for Alcoholics Anonymous, an organization that receives too little credit, is 212- 647-1680.

Suffering continues even more in Puerto Rico where despite the shipment of generators, some 80 percent of the state is still without power. Imagine. Imagine. Ah, and let’s’ also not forget how 11 elder patients died from excessive heat in a Florida nursing home because their caretakers didn’t move them into the nearby air-conditioned hospital.

Thankfully, The Times twice front-paged the story, but nursing home conditions need to “get out there” in general, and regularly. Indeed, the Florida facility reportedly had other problems that had not been corrected. Why not? And not only because the population is aging must infinitely more attention be paid to elder care – every aspect of elder care. And remembering if ever a group were afraid or reluctant to speak out about abuses or neglect, let alone indifference ...

It can be done if enough of us try.

But, gee, I’d much rather be writing about baseball, one game whose basic rules I understand from once playing softball. And let’s not feel too bad the Yankees didn’t make the Series, remembering how Houston’s hurricane-caused suffering continues. They could use some good news like an Astro win. New York can until next year.

dewingbetter@aol.com